Too many cells on day 3?
1 Replies
cb38 - October 5

I had one embryo transferred on day 4. On day 3 it was already 14 cells with very little fragmentation but the RE thought it may be developing "a bit too fast". By the time I went in for the transfer on the afternoon of day 4 it was already a blastocyst and looked great. I know 8 cells is the optimal number so is 14 cells on day 3 too many? Is it more likely abnormal or is it a good sign that it made it to blastocyst stage?

 

Dr Smith - October 6

The embryo should undergo the process of compaction (all the cells stick tightly together) between the 8-cell and 16-cell stage. Compaction is a necessary prelude to blastocyst formation. However, we only look at the embryos once a day, so it is not always clear the stage of an embryo. For example, one expects to see embryos at the 8-cells stage on Day 3. BUT, if the observation was made late on Day 3, the embryo may have developed to some point between the 8 and 16 cell stage. This isn't necessarily fast, but on paper it may look fast (too many cells on Day 3). The fact that the embryo underqent compaction (overnight) and went on to form a blastocyst by Day 4 means it was a little ahead of schedule, but within the normal, expected variation in embryo development.

 

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