My CCRM IVF Journey

Our successful journey through IVF #2 at one of the world's top fertility clinics

Feedback from Fertility Lab Insider

Posted by auntiem10 on October 14, 2010

Earlier this year, I found the blog Fertility Lab Insider. Carole Wegner, PhD writes blog entries covering some of the ins and outs of infertility and IVF labs. Having a great interest in all things medical, I feel like her posts have given me a porthole into what happens in an IVF laboratory. Check it out, if you haven’t already!

I’ve been curiously searching the Internet for information about embryos with a grading of “6” and have found very little. The CCRM embryologist told me that the designation means the embryos are very expanded and already hatched or hatching at the time of vitrification. I was so dazed by the results, I failed to ask her whether this is actually a good thing, or if hatching too early can have a detrimental effect on embryos. Mo left me a comment (very much appreciated), explaining that occasionally embryos with a grade of “6” don’t make it through the thaw, but otherwise I couldn’t find much info online. Searching for success stories didn’t lead me to many results. So I reached out to Carole and asked about her experience with blastocysts that have hatched in the lab. I posted her response below. I thought perhaps others searching for similar information in the future might find it helpful.

(Posted with Carole’s permission):

The “6s” designation is a new one for me (maybe CRRM specific scoring?) but if it means hatching blastocyst  on day 5, then the good news is that your embryos are progressive and not stalling out. Hatching is the process whereby the embryo shrugs off the zona pellucida like a coat it doesn’t need anymore. It must hatch in order to implant so hatching is a good thing.  To biopsy the embryo, an opening is made in the zona pellucida  to pull out the sample cell(s) and this opening can sometimes hasten hatching. (Making a hole in the zona was used before biopsy existed as a technique to “assist hatching’ of day 3 embryos.)

The shell is handy when they are being picked up in the catheter or other handling tools, but not absolutely necessary to their survival at this point.  It just means that they need extra special care in handling until they are placed in your uterus. (CRRM has some of the best, if not the best pregnancy rates in the country (as per CDC rates) so they have certainly encountered and had to handle hatched embryos before with success– that is also good news!)  We have had pregnancies from embryos that hatched in the lab before we could get them back to Mom so be happy at this point and don’t rule them out. I don’t have any statistics but it certainly wasn’t the end of the road if they hatched in the lab.

I know this waiting time is so hard but be cheered by all the hurdles your embryos have jumped over already- fertilization- early cleavage- biopsy- development to blastocyst and now hatching. They are on target so far.

Wishing you a positive beta and a healthy baby!!!



4 Responses to “Feedback from Fertility Lab Insider”

  1. LisainSK said

    So cool! All I know of 6’s are from a website from Chicago Advanced Fertility clinic that shows pictures of all embryos and explanation. I think that 6s are very advanced as they have hatched already and will require special care but because they are so advanced must mean REALLY good things. So I am hopeful that all will be well. I know, I love all things medical too. Maybe if this baby thing doesn’t work out for me I’ll go back to school and be a geneticist or an RE??!!

  2. Mo said

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing. Glad you got some feedback. John at CCRM had just said to me that 6s are a bit more delicate in the freezing/thawing because they have no shell but that they have success with them frequently.

  3. Running_girl said

    Thanks for the great info. I will be transferring a 6 in the next few weeks, so that was very helpful.

  4. LC1 said

    Thanks for sharing that website and the embyrologist’s response. I find this stuff so interesting too… especially the IVF lab and what goes on in there. It’s fascinating!

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