My IVF incubator is late….now what?

Categories: Practice Tips
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Published on: April 10, 2018

By Jon Schmidt (Trans Ova Genetics)

An unfortunate reality with IVF is the occasional need to utilize commercial shipping companies in the transportation of oocytes to and embryos from the IVF lab.  Many of us who work with IVF shipments have experienced a delayed, lost, or cold incubator.  These are unfortunate events that can be catastrophic to results and end in frustrated lab staff, transfer teams, and clients.  Below are a few suggestions on how to handle incubators that are compromised in transit while embryos are going back to the practitioner or client’s farm.

d0 = OPU day
d1 = fertilization day
d7 = normal transfer day

My embryo incubator is late….now what?

  • Embryos should be transferred into recipients of like synchrony (embryos delayed 1 day should go into recipients that were held over 1 day)
  • Embryos received later in the day on d7 can be processed no different than if received that morning
  • Embryos received on d8
    • All can be transferred fresh into recipients of similar synchrony
    • Embryos that are hatched should be transferred into recipients of advanced synchrony (≥ 8 days)
    • Embryos may be frozen with standard freezing protocols
      • If over 50% of mass is hatched, it is recommended to transfer the embryo
  • Embryos received on d9
    • Can be transferred fresh into recipients of similar synchrony
    • These embryos should not be frozen
  • Embryos received on d10 or after should be discarded


My embryo incubator arrived cold….now what?

  • Embryos received on or before d8 in an incubator above 7.5°C have been transferred fresh or frozen with acceptable results in many instances.
    • Results will depend on how quickly the embryos cooled down and for how long they have been cold
    • Embryos should be gradually warmed to 29°C before loading for fresh transfer or room temperature before freezing
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