CAREmaps time-lapse embryo imaging is an additional procedure available to all our patients. It’s used to make our routine embryo selection process even more effective. Over 2,000 babies have been born using CAREmaps so far.
CAREmaps time-lapse embryo imaging is unique to CARE and is offered at all our clinics. We’ll carry out the procedure during your IVF treatment once we’ve fertilised your eggs.
The process includes three important elements.
Our scientists are world-leaders in time-lapse technology, and our CAREmaps technique is really highly developed; we’ve innovated models that can help us more reliably select the highest quality embryos, allowing us to see whether each has a low, medium, or high chance of success.
Professor Simon Fishel and Alison Campbell explain time lapse imaging as it applies to the clinical practice of IVF. MAPS stands for Morphokinetic Algorithms to Predict Success, we use computer algorithms that allow us to predict a moment in time when the embryo is undergoing its cell division and allows us to understand what it should be doing at that moment in time. The images taken record many more of the stages and events of each embryo’s development than can ever be seen by manual ‘snapshot’ observations made during standard incubation.
What are the side effects and risks?
There are no risks that have been identified from the use of time lapse monitoring of embryos. It is possible, however, that CAREmaps might identify that none of your embryos are suitable for transfer and if that happens your doctor will work with you to identify the best way forward, taking account of all of the information from your treatment cycle, the embryo monitoring and your medical history.
Is CAREmaps effective?
The independent regulator of fertility treatment, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has developed a ‘red-amber-green’ rating system and provides information on their website about treatments that are offered on top of your routine fertility treatment – known as treatment add-ons. They consider that the only way to be confident that a treatment is effective enough to be used routinely is to carry out a randomised controlled trial (RCT). In an RCT, patients are assigned randomly to two groups: a treatment group, given the new treatment and a control group, given a well-tried treatment or a placebo.
The HFEA has given time-lapse imaging an amber rating because although there have been studies looking at whether time-lapse imaging can improve birth rates, they don’t consider that there is enough evidence from RCTs to prove that time-lapse imaging improves your chance of having a baby.
It is important to consider though that CAREmaps combines time-lapse imaging with the use of CARE’s unique embryo ranking model. CARE’s own data from a study published in 2017 of more than 23,000 treatment cycles showed a highly significant increase in births when CAREmaps was used to select embryos for patients aged younger than 38 using their own eggs. A paper published by CARE in 2019 showed that CAREmaps is superior for selecting embryos most likely to result in a birth than standard selection methods.