Educational and historical IVF videos

From fertilization to the 8-cell stage

From fertilization to the 8-cell stage
Submitted By: Thorir Hardarson, Phd.
Website: Fertility Center Scandinavia
Date: 28th August 2010
Time: 3:37

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Morphologically, the fertilization is confirmed by the appearance of two so-called pronuclei inside the oocyte and two polar bodies on the egg surface. The protrusion of the second polar body occurs shortly after the fertilization. The pronuclei approach each other closer and closer and finally fuse, where after they are no longer visible. The unique genetic code of a new human being is now formed. Four to six hours later, the first cellular division takes place. A nuclear structure will soon appear in each of the two cells called blastomeres. Ten to twelve hours later, a new cellular cleavage takes place in the two blastomeres, seldom at the same time. In this time-lapse sequence, cellular fragmentation is clearly visualized at the moment of cell division, but several minutes later the cytoplasm is again included within the cellular membrane and the blastomeres look relatively intact.

During a short period the embryo contains three cells, but soon one of the blastomeres cleave again and a typical 4-cell embryo with a few fragments becomes visible. We have now reached day two, counted from the moment of fertilization and many IVF-clinics replace the embryo into the uterus at this stage of development.

Finally, we will see a beautiful 4-cell embryo cleave to eight cells with evenly sized blastomeres and only few fragments. Even at this day three stage, the embryo can be successfully transferred to the uterus. Morphological appearance is the main criterion in most IVF-programs for the decisions about replacement and freeze preservation.

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