Latest News


Time-Lapse Embryo Monitoring Culture System

Since 2017, Lee Women’s Hospital has been introducing the Time-lapse system for embryo cultivation (referred to as Time-Lapse embryo monitoring system). This advancement has marked a significant step in the field of assisted reproductive technology. In September 2021, Lee Women’s Hospital welcomed its fifth time-lapse embryo monitoring incubator, which will enable more couples to benefit from this cutting-edge technology.

Our hospital has invested NT$50 million in this sophisticated equipment, making it a six-star luxury culture environment for embryos. The Time-lapse culture system plays a crucial role in assisted reproductive medicine. In clinical treatments, it allows embryos to be evaluated and graded without interfering with culture conditions. In medical research, the Time-lapse culture system provides valuable real-time data and insights into embryo development, contributing to the advancement of assisted reproductive medicine.

Time-lapse System Becomes a Specialized grading tool for embryos

In conventional IVF technique, after fertilization, embryos develop for a period of time in a culture incubator. Embryologists would periodically remove the embryos from the incubator for observation and recording. However, this process of taking the embryos out of the incubator may have an impact on their development. Time-lapse culture system perfectly addresses this issue, as it is a high-tech embryo cultivation system with the following advantages:
  • Embryologists can observe embryo development without moving the embryos. Once placed in the time-lapse culture incubator, embryos can develop in a constant condition.
  • Time-lapse culture system can capture embryo images at multiple focal points every 10 minutes. This allows embryologists to not only assess the external morphology of the embryos but also evaluate their morphokinetic parameters.
  • The images and data obtained from the Time-lapse system can provide a valuable foundation for future study and research, such as the development of artificial intelligence systems.

Time-lapse embryo monitoring incubator
▲Time-lapse embryo monitoring incubator

High Standards for Embryo Cultivation

Based on clinical observations, embryo quality is related to the success rate of embryo implantation. Embryologists assess embryo’s quality through the study of morphology, often represented by grades like ABC. The higher the grade, the better the chances of successful implantation. Lee Women’s Hospital has developed a more detailed grading system for embryo classification, ensuring a more comprehensive prediction of embryo implantation potential.

How are embryos graded? Please refer to: Embryo Grading Scale

Advanced Configuration of Time-lapse System in LWH

  • PhD-level Embryologists: The professionals operating the Time-lapse culture system are all PhD-level researchers with extensive clinical experience and academic achievements.
  • Precise Cross-Analysis: Lee Women’s Hospital combines years of accumulated data with the intelligent embryo selection system (KIDscore) of the Time-lapse culture system to make more accurate decisions in embryo grading.
  • AI Embryo Selection: Lee Women’s Hospital utilizes the time-lapse culture system to develop AI-driven embryo selection technology, aiming to enhance the success rate of IVF embryo implantation.

Playing an Essential Role in the 4th Generation of IVF

Dr. Chun-I Lee from Lee Women’s Hospital published a study on AI embryo selection, utilizing a database of 140,000 tile-lapse embryo images and results of Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A) to develop a patented AI model for IVF embryo selection.

Leveraging years of experience in assisted reproductive medicine and continuous innovation in technological research, the Lee Women's Hospital team has launched the 4th generation of IVF treatment. In this 4th-generation IVF treatment, the time-lapse culture system plays a crucial role. Combined with AI embryo selection technology and PGT-A testing, the embryos are assessed using big data algorithms, resulting in a pregnancy rate of up to 80% and a miscarriage rate reduced to 5%.

Light Can Harm Embryos: Incubator Design to Avoid Photodamage

Research has indicated that DNA can be damaged by light, particularly with shorter wavelengths. Light with wavelengths between 400 and 500 nm (purple light) has been shown to harm embryos, while general fluorescent lighting is considered non-damaging. Surprisingly, the halogen lamps used in microscopes require caution as well. To minimize potential harm to embryos, Lee Women's Hospital has equipped its microscopes with green filters to filter out harmful light, such as purple light.

In laboratories, the primary colors used for lighting are green, followed by yellow. The wavelengths and intensity of these two colors are very weak and insufficient to affect embryos significantly. As embryos and blastocysts are highly sensitive to light, temperature, and their environment, Lee Women's Hospital has chosen to utilize infrared light in the Time-lapse embryo incubator. Infrared light has the weakest energy among all colors of light, similar to the principle of using red light when developing photographic negatives. In this incubator, each embryo is photographed every 10 minutes for a very short duration, far smaller than the light halo from a microscope. Yet, this allows for complete monitoring of the embryos' developmental progress.

Case Study of Time-lapse System and AI Embryo Selection

Miss A, a 40-year-old woman, visited Lee Women's Hospital with an AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) level of only 0.4. Her husband had poor sperm quality, and they had undergone two failed artificial insemination attempts at another clinic. Due to the low number of embryos from Miss A, Dr. Chun-I Lee recommended the use of the 4th generation of IVF treatment. The embryologist utilized the time-lapse culture system and AI embryo selection technology to identify the most suitable embryos for implantation.

For more success stories about Miss A's IVF journey at Lee Women's Hospital, please read: A Ray of Hope for Older Mothers - AI Embryo Selection
Call us