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IVF Techniques: Maximizing Embryo Potential and Success Rates

IVF Techniques

IVF Techniques: Maximizing Embryo Potential and Success Rates

In vitro fertilization has been in practice for decades. The first "test tube" baby was born in 1978 and since then, more than 8 million babies have been born thanks to IVF. And as technology has only made success rates higher with advanced IVF techniques. For instance, a European study revealed that the rate of single embryo transfers rose from 11% in 1997 to 38% in 2015.

Learn the types of advanced techniques that have contributed to rising IVF success rates, in addition to incredible technology that analyzes embryo potential and quality.

Advanced IVF Techniques

There are a number of IVF techniques that have helped improve pregnancy outcomes for families across the world.

Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT)

Pre-screening embryos with genetic testing can reduce the chances of miscarriage and increase the chance of a successful IVF. There are three types of screening:

  • Abnormal chromosome number

  • Individual diseases

  • Chromosomal mis-arrangements 

However, there are 12 out of 12 chromosomes that can't be tested with pre-screening. PGT currently has an estimated error rate of 2% to 3% (in the form of either a false positive or false negative).

Assisted Hatching

Using assisted hatching as part of the IVF process can potentially lead to better success rates. It involves breaking open the outer layer of the embryo to help it implant in the uterus. There are some drawbacks, however. There's a slightly higher risk of identical twins and there's also a small chance of damaging the embryo during the hatching process. 

Sperm Selection

Sperm selection can be challenging because of their microscopic size and fast rotation as they swim. Using the best technology available can have a significant impact on extracting the most promising sperm. Oma Sperm InSight is a proprietary AI-power sperm microscope that widens the pool of high quality sperm cells for embryologists to choose from. The high pixel technology makes it easier to see details on the sperm and AI is able to identify the most promising sperm. 

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI is a process used to fertilize an egg with sperm. Instead of placing the egg in a petri dish with thousands of swimming sperm, ICSI uses a needle to inject a single sperm into the egg. Fertilization success rates range from 50% to 80%.  However, ICSI can cause damage to the egg in some cases and may stop growth in the embryo. 

Culture Media Optimization

Embryos are grown in a lab prior to implantation. One advanced IVF technique is to move the embryo into different media through different stages of development. This optimizes the nutrients it is exposed to. Typically, there are three types of culture media to maximize nutrition and pH levels:

  • Fertilization media

  • Cleavage media

  • Blastocyst media

Studies are starting to be conducted to determine whether culture media impacts birth weight, but there is no conclusive evidence yet. 

Embryo Potential and Quality

Many of the advancements made in IVF focus on the importance of selecting high-quality embryos. There are so many factors that affect embryo quality, from choosing the best egg and sperm through screening processes to using both to create a fertilized embryo without getting damaged.

IVF techniques help achieve the best outcomes from retrieval all the way through implantation. Fertility clinics can identify high-quality eggs and sperm while creating an optimized environment in which they can thrive. In fact, one study revealed that higher quality embryos result in higher birth rates.  

Improving IVF Success Rates

IVF success rates continue to rise. In 2020, assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles that resulted in a live birth ranged from 23.9% to 49.8%, depending on age. And 82% of all pregnancies resulted  in a live-birth delivery, revealing how much quality embryos increase the chances of a successful birth.

Another positive outcome due to advanced IVF techniques is the decrease in multiples. In the same data from 2020, only 5.3% of ART pregnancies resulted in multiple infants. You can also get a sense of growing success rates from the number of IVF babies born in the U.S. In 2011, there were 61,599 infants born, which grew to 79,942 in 2020.


Decades of technological advancements have made IVF a life-changing procedure for couples who may have had doubts about whether or not they could ever have children of their own. There are new techniques available at every stage of the process, from choosing the very best egg and sperm to optimizing the fertilization and implantation conditions.

All of these scientific breakthroughs have led to increased live birth rates, giving families hope of successfully bringing home a baby after their IVF journey.  

Learn more about IVF at Oma Fertility.

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2023 12:00 AM

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