Time-lapse embryo imaging technology available at Nurture Fertility

May 17, 2013

Time-lapse monitoring of embryos and their development has hit the headlines as the latest breakthrough in IVF.   In fact it is a technique we at Nurture Fertility have been using since last year.   Time-lapse technology basically involves as a series of 5000 or more snapshot images, which are then fast forwarded to provide a video-sequence of the embryos developing.   You may have seen this on natural history programmes where it is used to show a plant growing of flower blossoming.

Embryos grow slowly and the technology is perfect to observe them in a laboratory environment over two to five days. After much research into the various time-lapse systems currently available including the Embryoscope, we chose the PRIMO VISION TIME-LAPSE EMBRYO MONITORING SYSTEM because unlike Embryoscope it allows us to monitor embryos within our current culture system. This means we are still able to use our own incubators, which have given us such high success rates for the last few years. The camera sits inside the incubator and the embryos are not moved until absolutely required as part of your treatment. Clear images of the embryos are obtained with minimum light exposure.

 In contrast to other time-lapse systems, the dishes used to culture the embryos with the Primo Vision system are specifically designed to enable the individual identification of each embryo whilst still supporting group culture of all embryos. Nurture Fertility feel that group embryo culture is the best way to look after your embryos. There is good evidence that embryos develop better when grown together. Primo Vision allows us to culture up to 16 embryos at any one time which is not possible with the Embryoscope system.

It is important to stress that time-lapse monitoring is not a proven treatment and the benefits are still to be determined. The recent media coverage related to one study that involved a very small number of patients 69 in total and only 88 embryos. In view of this and because evidence-based research is a central part of our ethos at Nurture, we  will offer Primo-Vision at a reduced charge and will continue to do so until it's benefits are proven in adequately designed, controlled and powered studies. As we have previously done with the introduction of our 3D scanning, EmbryoGlue and natural killer cell testing.

It is important to put this new technology in perspective. At Nurture Fertility we have an approximate 50% success rate already, rising to 72% in women aged under 36 even when a single embryo is replaced. These are some of the highest success rates in the UK and are the best figures within the Midlands. Part of our success relates to our ability to culture and select the very best embryo or embryos to replace. We feel that the time-lapse technology is probably only likely to benefit specific groups of patients therefore and we typically use it for couples who have experienced previous unsuccessful IVF treatment, poor embryo development and recurrent miscarriage. We also use it for all our natural cycle IVF patients, another new treatment Nurture are pioneering where a single egg is collected without the use of any drugs.

If you would like to know more about time-lapse technology at Nurture please contact us on 0115 8961900 or email