Causes & Treatment

Embryo Grading – What is it and Why is it Important for the IVF Process?

Suzanne Cawood, Head of Embryology at CRGH Fertility Clinic  |  26 Mar 2021


For patients undergoing fertility treatment, the fertility journey can often feel like a series of important hurdles to overcome, one after the next. At one end of the spectrum, there are results of initial fertility tests and investigations, which might identify why you haven’t been able to conceive naturally. Then during the IVF process, everyone clings onto hope of hearing how many embryos may have made it to blastocyst stage, and their quality (known as embryo garding). Embryo grading can be the part of the fertility journey which patients fixate on, and which can cause the most anxiety.

For patients looking to freeze embryos for later use, also known as an IVF frozen embryo transfer (or for those “batching”), embryo grading can be seen as the successful conclusion to their IVF cycle. For those undergoing IVF and proceeding with an embryo transfer, embryo grading is an important mid-way point in their journey.

With this in mind, we’ve turned to leading fertility clinic CRGH, based in London and Canterbury, to find out whether or not embryo grading is actually important. Welcome Head of Embryology at CRGH, Suzanne Cawood, who explains what embryo grading is, why it happens, and also why it is so important for their patients.

What is Embryo Grading?

Embryo grading is a fertility test tool that embryologists use to assess the likelihood of that embryo achieving implantation. The information gained from assessing the rate of division, the symmetry and uniformity also provides valuable insight into potential causes of infertility, allowing your fertility specialist to counsel you as to your treatment options and more accurately ascertain your chance of IVF success.

When does Embryo Grading Happen and Why?

At CRGH fertility clinic, embryo grading occurs on day 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of embryo development – Day 1 of embryo development is the day after your egg collection or egg thaw.

Related Article – Fertility Springboard Podcast: Everything You Need to Know about Embryo Transfers

How do Embryo Grades Impact IVF Success Rates?

Embryo grading is one of the factors that affects your chance of success when having IVF. Embryo grading alone is not enough of a tool to predict a pregnancy, but is used along with:

  • Aetiology of infertility

  • The patient and partner’s age

  • Medical history

This, among other information, can all be taken into consideration to provide a valuable insight into your embryo’s health and best provide fertility answers. Embryo grading is key to determining which of your embryos is the most likely to implant and go on to become a successful pregnancy.

At CRGH fertility clinic, we appreciate that the information around embryo grades can be overwhelming, particularly at what can be an emotional stage of fertility treatment. It’s for this reason that we have created our embryo grading video guide and encourage all of our patients to ask their fertility specialist and their embryologist any questions they might have. By doing so we’re able to keep our patients informed and we continually achieve outstanding IVF success rates.

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