Jan 31

The Role of the Embryologist in IVF Treatment

Embryologist and IVF Treatment - San Antonio, TX

Posted on January 31, 2019 — by Joseph E. Martin, M.D., FACOG

Medical doctor with a test tubeThe most popular fertility procedure today, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can treat male and female infertility. Countless patients come to our San Antonio, TX fertility center and are able to have children thanks to IVF. Dr. Joseph E. Martin and his team work together closely to make sure all patients get answers to their questions and have their concerns fully addressed.

Our team wouldn’t be able to function as well as it does without the invaluable expertise of our embryologists. Let’s go over the basics of what embryologists specialize in and why their expertise is pertinent to the IVF process.

About Embryologists

In the most basic terms, an embryologist is a type of medical specialist who studies eggs, sperm, and embryos. This specialization makes them ideally suited to help with the IVF process.

We’ll cover the duties below in terms of when they’d occur during an IVF cycle.

Egg Retrieval

Once a patient’s follicles have matured and viable eggs are ready to be harvested, the process of egg retrieval occurs. This means that ovulation is induced so fertility specialists can take these readied eggs from the patient. An embryologist will assist with the retrieval of these eggs.

Prepping the Eggs for Fertilization

In order to increase the chances of successful pregnancy and live birth, good eggs must be selected and used. An embryologist can assess egg quality and pick out the best eggs that are harvested. This selection process increases the chances of successful fertilization, implantation, and live birth.

Prepping the Sperm for Fertilization

Sperm can be selected to ensure optimal chances of a healthy pregnancy. An embryologist can note the shape, motility, and overall suitability of individual sperm for the IVF process. In addition, a man’s sperm can be washed in order to remove impurities and enhance the healthy and viability of the sperm.

Monitoring Embryos as They Develop

After fertilization, an embryologist will monitor the development of the embryo. This means checking that cellular division is occurring normally. Checking on embryos as they develop ensures the right time to implant the embryo into a woman’s uterus. If the embryo successfully implants, that means that the IVF procedure has resulted in a successful pregnancy.

Performing Genetic Tests

If there are concerns of genetic abnormalities or chromosomal problems, an embryologist can perform genetic tests during the IVF process. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can both help identify risks of hereditary conditions as well as risks of pregnancy loss before an embryo is transferred. This can prevent the hardship and tragedy of a miscarriage and can also avoid birth defects.

Assisting with Cryopreservation

Sometimes a patient would like to preserve their eggs, sperm, or viable embryos to be used at a later time. In order to preserve these viable cells, cryopreservation is performed. This process freezes eggs, sperm, or embryos without damaging them, and allows people to have children at a later date. An embryologist assists with this process.

Learn More About Fertility Treatment

If you would like to learn more about IVF and your other options for starting a family, be sure to contact an experienced fertility doctor. The Fertility Center of San Antonio is here for you. You can reach us by phone at (210) 692-0577.

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