New technology is transforming fertility treatments for would-be parents in North Texas.
Couples undergoing invitro fertilization are able see their embyros develop almost in real time.
It's a specialized incubator for embryos designed to reduce risks from exposure to impurities in the air and to identify the best embryos for transfer by their cell-division patterns.
A camera and microscope are equipped inside the incubator, taking pictures every two to three minutes for a time-lapse video of the embryos.
Traditional incubators required doctors to remove the embryos and take snapshots every 24 hours. "We are putting the microscope in the incubator, use a computer to control and take a picture every two to three minutes," said Dr. Marius Meintjes, scientific director at Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine.
Chris and Candace Storey have watched 10-month-old Conner's life blossom from the moment the cells that would become Conner developed during the invitro fertilization process.
""You could see him moving. You could see the cells. You could see everything of him and it was amazing," said Candace.
The couple struggled to have children so they went to Dr. Meintjes, who, with the EmbryoScope, can see potential problems in almost real time to weed out the embryos that wouldn't be viable.
"It's not as easy to tell which embryo is the best, but it's fairly easy to tell which embryos are not good," said Dr. Meintjes. "By using this technology, we can now select between the embroys and find the one with the largest or biggest implantation potential and give them the best chance to a healthy baby."
Fertility scientists are always trying to improve IVF success rates, and the EmbryoScope is one of the latest advances in that area, says the clinic's website.
The technology also gives parents peace of mind.
"It was very miraculous to be able to see and know that we could keep track and make sure he was viable and healthy enough for a good pregnancy," said The Storeys, who look forward to adding to their family in the future.
"Maybe in a few years! Give us a few years! We are banked up in the egg department so we are good," they said.
EmbryoScope services cost about $500 in addition to regular IVF costs.