Q: We are getting ready for our first IVF cycle. We are hoping to have lots of embryos and I’m confused at when is the best time to transfer them back into me. If I have a choice, should we transfer back our embryos at 3 days or 5 days of growth?
A: Good question. In the past, transferring at 3 days was the standard. Now that culturing medium and embryologist skill are advancing, it is possible to grow the embryos to the blastocyst stage at day 5. The problem is that many embryos don’t survive the 5 days in the Petri dish, so some reproductive endocrinologists are now recommending transferring more embryos, but doing it at the 3 day mark. Other embryologist, think that the natural selection that takes place in the Petri dish from day 4 and 5 makes for stronger embryos more likely to implant and grow into a baby. I have heard both views on the Creating a Family show. To hear an articulate assessment of the transfer at day 3 argument, listen to the Creating a Family show, Facts and Myths About Infertility, where I interviewed Dr. David Hoffman, Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist with IVF Florida and past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), about the most common myths surrounding infertility and IVF. The argument in favor of day 5 transfer is expressed by Dr. Robert Stillman, Medical Director of Shady Grove Fertility Center and Professor of Medicine at Georgetown Medical School on the Creating a Family show Reducing Multiple Births.
Image Credit: Jay Roberts