Semin Reprod Med 2014; 32(02): 114-126
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1363553
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Morphological Assessment of Embryo Viability

Michael Abeyta
1  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center, Palo Alto, California
Barry Behr
2  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
10 February 2014 (online)


Morphological assessment is discussed in the context of significant literature at all stages of in vitro development, beginning with the oocyte and culminating at the blastocyst stage. Current evidence is used to debate the inclusion of commonly observed morphological features in grading schemes. The biological rationale behind observed phenomena such as multinucleation and fragmentation are also explored. Current limitations as well as technological advancements that increase our ability to assess viability are highlighted. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between developmental timing and assessment schemes. Failure to standardize assessment timing and inclusion criteria are glaring weaknesses of the literature that currently make consensus unattainable. Mounting evidence suggests that the future of static assessment is very likely to be influenced by information gathered from preimplantation genetic screening and other invasive techniques as well as from continuous monitoring tools such as time lapse.