Embryo Grading

The following is a guide on how our IVF lab assesses blastocyst embryos utilizing the  grading scale created by Dr. David K. Gardner.

Once fertilized, embryos will continue to develop in our laboratory for up to seven days. The embryo grading process assesses embryo quality and requires a vast amount of training and skill. Our embryologists use their experience to grade the embryos in order to select the best embryo for transfer, hopefully increasing the odds of a successful pregnancy.

A blastocyst is the most advanced stage an embryo can achieve in culture and typically occurs 5 – 7 days post fertilization. Only the best quality embryos develop to the blastocyst stage. A blastocyst has two distinct cell types and a central cavity filled with fluid:

Number Describing Overall Expansion of the Fluid Cavity

Initially blastocysts are given a numerical score from 1 to 6 based upon their degree of expansion and hatching status. This part of the assessment can be performed on a dissection microscope.

1 – Early Blastocyst

Blastocoel < half the volume of the embryo

2 – Blastocyst

Blastocoel > half the volume of the embryo

3 – Full Blastocyst

Blastocoel completely fills the embryo

4 – Expanded Blastocyst

Blastocoel volume is now larger than that of the early embryo and the zona is thinning

5 – Hatching

Embryo has breached the zona pellucida and is hatching out of its shell

6 – Hatched

Embryo is completely hatched

Letter Grade for Inner Cell Mass

The second step in scoring the blastocysts should be performed on an inverted microscope. The development of the inner cell mass (ICM) can then be assessed. The ICM is given a letter, the highest score being an A.

Letter Grade for Trophectoderm

The third step in scoring the blastocysts should be performed on an inverted microscope. The development of the trophectoderm can then be assessed. The trophecoderm is given a letter, the highest score being an A.

Additional Embryo Assessment Tools

EmbryoScope®

Embryo grading is much more than the embryos’ isolated appearance. It also includes their morphokinetic development as witnessed via the EmbryoScope®.

Learn more about the EmbryoScope®

Preimplantation Genetic Testing For Aneuploidies (PGT-A, Formerly Known As PGS)

The chromosomal status of an embryo can be determined with preimplantation genetic screening which evaluates all 46 chromosomes within a few cells carefully removed from each embryo. Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies (PGT-A, formerly known as PGS) provides information regarding the chromosomal health of the embryo.

Learn more about Preimplantation Genetic Testing For Aneuploidies (PGT-A)

About Our Laboratory

Our laboratory team leads the way through research and innovation contributing to nationally recognized success rates.

Laboratory Research

RAD is committed to advancing the science and practice of reproductive medicine through education and research.

Embryo Grading

RAD uses the grading scale created by Dr. David K. Gardner to assess blastocyst embryos.

EmbryoScope®

Time-lapse video allows our IVF experts to analyze individual embryo growth.

PGT-A

Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidies (PGT-A) is a tool used to optimize the efficiency of IVF, increasing the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

PGT-M and PGT-SR

Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Monogenic/Single Gene Defects (PGT-M) and (PGT-SR) are tests that help evaluate embryos for genetic risk factors.

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Newark Office

4735 Ogletown-Stanton Road
Medical Arts Pavilion 2
Suite 3217
Newark, DE 19713

Wilmington Office

Silverside Medical Center
2700 Silverside Road, Suite 2A
Wilmington, DE 19810

Dover Office

Eden Hill Medical Center
200 Banning Street, Suite 240
Dover, DE 19904

Phone: (302) 602-8822

Fax: (302) 602-8832

©Reproductive Associates of Delaware 2019