LTC-BS — Long-term Cultivation to Blastocyst Stage

Long-term embryo culturing in vitro (Latin: in glass) is the technology for creating the environment needed for maintaining the stability and natural course of development and viability of human embryo outside the mother’s body until it has reached the blastocyst stage and can be safely implanted into the uterus. This resent innovation has become a substantial solution to many conditions of male and female infertility. The key issue here is to artificially create and maintain the environment most similar to that in female body as if the conception had proceeded naturally. The preservation of embryo in vitro is limited by the 4-6 days time, till it has reached the blastocyst stage of development.

The long-term culturing (as opposed to short-tem, that is to the stage of cell division or cleavage, which is 2-3 days) is a complex and elaborate process, which requires particularly equipped lab and continuous monitoring by professionally trained medical staff.

The method of artificially culturing embryo to the Blastocyst stage has been proven to have significant advantages against that till the cell-division stage. Leading embryologic labs worldwide choose to practice long-term culturing, with no reference to the number of eggs obtained. At MAMA Clinic it has become usual practice over the years to carry out embryo transfer to the uterus on the 4th, 5th or 6th day of its’ development, when the blastocyst stage has been reached.

It has become possible to switch to long-term embryo culturing practice after the many years of reproductive medical science research finally resulted in the essential advanced high-tech achievement – the transit to new culture environmental components, constructed specifically for the long-term embryo culturing. Since then, most leading microbiological equipment manufactures have come up with new products used exclusively for long-term culture implementation. At MAMA Clinic, we are currently using the latest generation of culture media such as SICM/SIBM and Embryo Assist/Blas Assist, produced by Cook (Australia) and Medi-Cult (Denmark).

Another major technological breakthrough in reproductive medicine and particularly culturing in vitro was the introduction of multi-gas incubators. MAMA Clinic embryologic lab is equipped with the most up-to-date incubators produced by Galaxy and Sanyo manufacturers. The data provided by the incubators environment (such as CO2 and O2 content, temperature and gas pressure in the system) are continuously monitored and maintained by special computer programs, which ensures the efficiency, stability and reliability of the culturing process.

The long-term culturing and blastocyst stage transfer methods have been in practice at MAMA Clinic since 2003. Over the years, we have gained tremendous knowledge and experience in the field, including both practical approach to culturing and the perspective cells’ selection process used for further transfer or cryopreservation. The progress achieved has had positive impact on general pregnancy rate shown by MAMA Clinic and cryopreservation efficiency. Our specialists also rely on in to improve the protocol strategies for further IVF attempts.

Julia Zaikova