Illustrated By Ly Ngo.
Since the first successful procedure in 1978, in-vitro fertilization has helped millions of couples around the world start families. But, as many women who have gone through the process know all too well, it's nowhere near a foolproof scenario. According to Resolve, success rates top out at 40% for ideal candidates.
A new device called the Embryoscope brings some key changes to the IVF process that could make it dramatically more reliable. Developed by researchers in England who were part of the very first IVF procedure team, the Embryoscope provides (almost) real-time, round-the-clock monitoring of the fertilization process on a cellular level. In the past, embryos had to be removed from their incubators once a day in order for technicians to collect data and make sure things were running smoothly. Of course, this exposed the samples to changes in temperature and airborne contaminants.
The Embryoscope solves this problem by integrating a small camera into the incubator itself, which takes photos every 10-15 minutes to create a time-lapse video of each potential embryo. This way, doctors can stay looped in on the status of the samples without risking the embryos' viability. And, scientists say the device helps pinpoint which samples have the best chances of succeeding.