Infertility/Fertility/Day 3 - 2 cell embryo


I am on my 2nd cycle of IVF.  Last Friday I had 2 eggs recovered from 4 follicles.  Only 1 egg fertilised and it was transferred on Monday.  Problem is that it was a high quality egg with perfect cell division and less than 20% fragmentation.  BUT - between days 2 and 3 it didn't divide any further, so at day 3, we only had 2 cells.

The embryologist suggested we put it in as there was a chance it was just a slow embryo and that it might divide further later in the day.

Is it possible that my wee embryo was even still alive at the time of the transfer?

Could an embryo with 2 cells on day 3 go on to survive?

Writing from Scotland

Hello Elaine from the U.K.

Since we don't currently have a technology to evaluate the internal quality of an embryo, we use visual quality (grading based on how the embryo looks# and how the embryo is developing #division rate).  The fact that your embryo did not divide further is not a good sign.  Yes there is the chance that once in the natural environment, it will continue to develop and lead to a pregnancy but I think the chances are low.  We consider this an "arrest of division" and generally do not consider this to be a viable embryo.  But, again, as a fertility specialist we only HELP the process that God has put in place, so anything is possible.

Good Luck,

Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program

Monterey, California, U.S.A.

for additional information check out my blog at check me out on twitter with me at @montereybayivf and facebook @montereybayivf.  Skype and internet comprehensive consultations now available via my website for those who want a more extensive evaluation that this site can accommodate  


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Edward Joseph Ramirez, MD, FACOG


I am a specialist in infertility and advanced gynecological care. I can answer questions about infertility, gynecology related ills, menopause...virtually anything that affects women's health. PLEASE tell me where you are writing from as I am always interested.


I have been practicing as an Ob/Gyn and Infertility Specialist for over 23 years. Gynecology, advanced laparoscopic surgery, basic infertility, IUI's, IVF, reproductive surgery, and ovulation induction are all areas of my expertise. I am Board Certified. I have been doing In Vitro Fertilization in my clinic for 19 years.

American College of OB/GYN, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, California Medical Association, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, Fellow of The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wall Street Journal, Monterey Herald, SERMO, Women's Health and Fertility Blog

Medical Degree from Stanford University, Residency at Tripler Army Medical Center, Reproductive Training at Pacific Fertility Center, San Francisco

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