Everything You Should Know About IVF Embryo Grading

Blastocyst EmbryoEmbryo grading is one of the many bridges to be crossed through one’s IVF journey. Becoming well-informed about embryo grading will help make your upcoming IVF trek easier. Embryologists steadfastly observe embryos culturing in vitro in order to make accurate assessments of their development and – most importantly – quality.

Embryo Grading Expertise

From a cell – to a newborn baby – embryology is the branch of biology and medicine focused on the study of an embryo.

  • From the point of fertilization
  • Throughout development
  • To the fetus stage

The artful practice of embryology is key to an IVF pregnancy success.

  • Assisting in the surgical retrieval of a woman’s eggs
  • Performing post-surgical retrieval tests on eggs
  • Performing in vitro tests on embryos
  • Maintaining patient clinical records

Embryologists give careful attention to nurturing quality embryos as they develop in vitro.

Only quality embryos are transferred to the patient’s uterus.

  • Quality embryos have the highest chance of implantation into a woman’s uterine lining
  • Quality embryos thrive into a fetus
  • Quality embryos have the best chance of achieving a full-term, healthy pregnancy and live birth

Day Three Embryo Grading

If you have three-day embryos, you’ve passed the egg follicle growth, surgical retrieval, and fertilization stages. Three-day embryos culturing in vitro are observed and graded for the first time. This is the cleavage stage of development – when the cells inside the embryos are dividing, but not growing.

On Day Three, embryologists use a high-powered microscope to observe the morphology – structure – of the embryos.

  • Number of cells in each embryo
  • Appearance of the embryo

Number of Cells

An embryo that is dividing well should optimally have between six to 10 cells by Day Three – eight is ideal. Quality Day Three embryos having eight or more cells have a very high chance of pregnancy and live birth success.

Cell Appearance

  • Less than 20 percent fragmentation – the loss of cell content (cytoplasm)
  • Sufficient compaction for the next stage – blastocyst (Day Five)
  • Cytoplasmic pitting – depressions in the cell’s content
  • Vacuoles – fluid-filled pockets in cell’s content

Day Five Embryo Grading

This is the blastocyst stage of development. Quality embryos on Day Five are transferred to the patient’s uterus – or – cryopreserved for future Frozen Embryo Transfers (FETs).

On Day Five Embryologists look for:

The amount that the blastocyst has expanded as the cavity becomes fluid-filled. Grades range from one to six – six being the most preferred development.

The quality of the ICM – forms the fetus. Grades range from A to C – with A being the best quality.

The quality of the TE – forms the placenta and pregnancy-related tissue. Grades rage from A to C – with A being the best quality.

Embryo Grading End Result

An example of a high quality embryo – 6AA.

  • Preferred development – 6
  • ICM cells – A
  • TE cells – A

Embryo Grading Expertise in Chicago

At his beautiful Chicagoland Hoffman Estates IL location, Dr. Laurence A. Jacobs offers cutting-edge embryo grading in conjunction with IVF.

Click here to schedule your New Patient Telemedicine Consultation via Zoom with Dr. Jacobs – or call 888.325.7389.

Click Here To Schedule Your Consultation  With Dr. Laurence Jacobs