It’s hard to choose what to do with leftover embryos in reproductive treatments. One option is to donate them to other couples.
Embryo biopsy is a step in the process of PGD which consists of removing one or two cells from the embryo without compromising its normal growth so that an assessment and a genetic study of the embryo can be conducted. The biopsy can be performed before or after fertilisation, the former by biopsying the polar body, and the latter by biopsying a blastomere from the embryo on day 3 or on day 5.
Some assisted reproductive techniques, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or ICSI, perform egg fertilisation outside the woman’s body. For this reason, embryo culture is necessary up to the day in which the embryo transfer is performed.
Embryos can be classified in 4 categories –from A to D– ranging from best quality to least developed embryos. This classification is mainly visual and rather subjective, but there are also several studies to identify their metabolic activity.