Additional Laboratory Services

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
Although IVF alone is highly effective for many couples, others may require additional ART procedures designed to improve the chances to achieve and sustain a pregnancy. Some of these services promote fertilization of the eggs outside the body (in vitro), while others utilize modern reproductive technology to help embryos develop normally and/or improve their chances for implantation once they are transferred to the uterus.  Some of these services are called micromanipulation techniques, because they require a microscope and tiny probes that penetrate the egg or embryo as a form of microsurgery at the cellular level. Over the past 12 years, we have been involved in developing a variety of techniques using micromanipulation on reproductive cells - eggs, sperm and embryos – as a means of treating infertility. Two of our reproductive biologists, Drs. Jacques Cohen and Henry Malter, were responsible for micromanipulation techniques that resulted in the first human births following these procedures in 1989.  We maintain one the world's leading research laboratories in reproductive micromanipulation, and have been responsible for the development of several significant new techniques.

Micromanipulation - IRMS - Science & research

Micromanipulation relies on specialized mechanical/electronic devices that, in effect, reduce the micro-surgeon’s hand motion down to the cellular level. Minute glass tools, much thinner than a human hair, are used to manipulate and modify reproductive cells. Using micromanipulation techniques, a single sperm can be injected into an egg to achieve fertilization (intracytoplasmic sperm injection – ICSI), single embryonic cells can be safely removed for analysis (embryo biopsy), microscopic openings can be made in the embryonic "shell" to facilitate the hatching process (assisted hatching), and cell "fragments" that may inhibit growth can be removed (fragment removal). The use of these techniques and others has led to significant improvements in assisted reproductive technology (ART) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

List of the ART services performed at IRMS.  Click on each title to obtain more information.  

  • ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) – to promote fertilization, a single sperm is injected through the outer membrane (zona pellucida) of the egg. This method is very successful in overcoming problems related to male infertility.

  • Assisted Hatching – to facilitate implantation, a tiny hole is drilled in the zona before the embryo is transferred to the uterus.

  • Fragment Removal – to enhance development, microscopic cell "fragments" that may inhibit growth are removed from between the cells of an embryo.

  • Ultrasound Guided Embryo Transfer – to allow direct visualization and optimal placement of embryos within the uterus, embryo transfer is assisted by ultrasound.

  • Blastocyst Transfer – to reduce multiple pregnancy rates, this encourages the growth and selection of quality embryos for transfer. In most IVF cycles, transfer occurs on Day 3, when the zygote (including the nucleus from the egg and sperm) has developed into a 6-to-8-celled embryo. Depending on factors related to quality, the embryos may not be transferred until Day 5, when they have reached the blastocyst stage and contain more than 100 cells.  

  • Cryopreservation – to preserve healthy embryos for future IVF cycles, couples may choose to have extra embryos frozen. This enables the woman to undergo a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle, which avoids additional hormonal treatments and the egg retrieval process.  

  • Single Sperm Freezing – to allow for cryopreservation of a single or a few sperm, they are placed inside the zona of an egg. This is used in cases where the male has no sperm in his semen, but a few can be retrieved surgically from testicular tissue. Inside the zona, the sperm can be safely frozen and quickly located after thaw, avoiding surgeries for subsequent cycles.  

  • Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis – to identify genetic abnormalities in developing embryos, scientists remove and biopsy a single cell from the embryo and assess it for chromosomal abnormalities. While affected embryos cannot be "cured," healthy ones can be selected for transfer.