New Study Promotes IVF Success Rates


IVF Technology is an ever-changing and evolving field. As scientists continue to look for ways to improve embryo transfer success and promote more term length pregnancies, the collective knowledge base continues to grow.

In most cases, created embryos are transferred into a waiting uterus between day 3 and day 5 of development. This time frame is carefully chosen to give the embryo the best chance to implant and continue to develop as possible. It has been widely believed that embryos cannot be kept alive outside of the body beyond day seven of development, unless they are frozen and stored for future use.

Researchers in the United Kingdom are challenging this common belief however, and hoping to enable research that will lead to more positive IVF transfers. In 2016, a lab was able to sustain embryonic life outside of the body for 13 days. Researchers suspect that life could have been further maintained, if not for a legal precedent that does not allow for research past 14 days, the point at which an embryo begins to develop neurons in the brain.

This extension of life in a lab is crucial for one key reason; it allows scientists to observe embryo development in a phase of development that is crucial to a positive pregnancy. In many cases an embryo will be transferred into a uterus on day 5, and give up to 14 days to implant and begin to grow. Keeping the embryo alive and outside of the body during this crucial time frame will allow doctors to more closely examine what changes are occurring in the embryo at this point in development, and to understand what needs to happen to encourage implantation.

Researchers also note that this phase of development is also when abnormalities and genetic defects can take shape, and that monitoring and studying cellular activity during these additional 6 days can shed fresh light on why this happens.

Researchers say that their hope is that, as this method of preservation continues, they may be able to learn more about how to prevent inherited diseases and encourage an improved IVF success rate.



Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for intended parents, surrogates and donors. She is the co-owner of Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.