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Mysteries of the IVF Lab Revealed

Some people like mysteries and some don’t. When you’re going through IVF, I think it’s important to know as much as possible about the process — everything from how your body may react to each step to what exactly happens behind the scenes in the IVF lab. What happens after your eggs are retrieved? How are your eggs prepared for fertilization? How do embryologists perform assisted hatching? How are your eggs and embryos frozen?

I recommend getting as much information as possible about the level of expertise of the embryologists with whom your fertility doctor works.

I recently hosted Salu Ribeiro, an embryologist at UCSF on The Egg Whisperer show, in order to demystify what happens behind the scenes. Ribeiro studied for many years at UC Davis and the University of Leeds in the UK to become a board certified scientific expert in making sperm and egg meet in a petri dish, or invitro, the I in IVF. After I retrieve a patient’s eggs, Salu is the person who I hand them off to. He’s their first baby sitter. Not every embryologist is as well-trained as Salu, and I trust him because he has a very steady hand when he handles embryos. I recommend getting as much information as possible about the level of expertise of the embryologists with whom your fertility doctor works. This will give you a lot more confidence in the path to your future baby.

If you’re 35 and have ten eggs, more than 80% of them will fertilize.

SR: We do something called a Day 1 fert check, where I look for something called 2PN, which is when the DNA from the mom and the DNA from the Dad come together. I can see this through the microscope. It will tell me if the egg is fertilized. If you’re 35 and have ten eggs, more than 80% of them will fertilize. The threshold of most IVF clinics in the US is 70 percent. I just love when I see beautiful embryos developing in the lab.

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A. Recently frozen. E. Expanded after thawing the embryos. Credit: https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(07)04148-9/pdf

Written by

Fertility Doctor, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Egg Whisperer: www.eggwhisperer.com

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