Interrupted or Uninterrupted Culture to the Blastocyst Stage in a Single Medium

  • Don RiegerEmail author
  • Klaus E. Wiemer


The early practice of human in vitro fertilization involved transfer of the embryos at the cleavage stage (Day 2 or 3). However, there are many significant advantages to blastocyst transfer including more and better approaches to selection for transfer, and transfer into a more appropriate uterine environment. In particular, 24-chromosome preimplantation genetic screening of trophectoderm biopsy offers markedly increased implantation rates, single embryo transfer, and few or no multiple births. Initially, culture to the blastocyst stage was said to require sequential culture in two different media—the first for culture from the zygote to the cleavage stage (Days 1–3) and the second for culture from the cleavage stage to the blastocyst stage (Day 3 to Day 5 or 6). Conversely, it has been shown that embryo development and outcome is at least as good or perhaps better when a single medium is used for culture from the zygote to the blastocyst stage. Culture in a single medium can be either interrupted, with a change to fresh drop of the same medium at Day 3, or uninterrupted, with culture in the same drop from Day 1 to Day 5 or 6. The advantages of uninterrupted culture include reduced labor, reduced stress to the embryo, and suitability for time-lapse observation. Uninterrupted culture to the blastocyst stage requires attention to the details of culture conditions, including laboratory air quality, quality of oil, and low oxygen. Each laboratory should perform a careful comparison between interrupted and uninterrupted culture before adopting uninterrupted culture as routine practice.


Embryo culture Simplex optimization Single step Simplification Reduced stress Culture media pH Blastocyst development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LifeGlobal LLC, Research and DevelopmentGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Poma FertilityKirklandUSA

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