Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago ivf

Day 3 Embryo Transfer vs. Day 5 Blastocyst Transfer for IVF

Day 5 blastocyst embryo transfer in ivf
2 blastocyst embryos that were transferred with a pregnancy resulting
Transferring 2 blastocysts can yield high pregnancy rates and (almost) no risk for triplets

Unresolved issues regarding blastocyst transfer:

  • How do we select the most appropriate candidates for blastocyst transfer?
  • How many blastocysts should we transfer?
  • At what female age should we consider transferring 3 blasts instead of the usual 1 or 2?
  • Would transferring only 1 blast yield too low a pregnancy rate?
  • Which couples are most appropriate for transferring only one high quality blastocyst?
  • How many couples would have no blastocysts at all for transfer if we cultured all patients embryos until day 5?

Ten years ago, GIFT (egg and sperm transfer to the tubes) and ZIFT (one-day-old embryo transfer to the tubes) were popular because IVF laboratories were not able to attain high pregnancy rates with longer periods of in vitro culture.

Today, most programs have abandoned these much more expensive and invasive tubal procedures and are routinely doing day 3 uterine transfers with much improved pregnancy rates.

Now that we have learned more about human embryonic needs and have improved the IVF culture systems, we are moving toward more routine use of blastocyst transfer. This allows our patients the highest possible pregnancy rates while reducing their risk for multiple pregnancy.

Our IVF program and some others are currently doing blastocyst transfers in selected cases. Very few programs are doing all of their IVF cases with day 5 transfers.

In almost all centers (including ours) that do blastocyst transfer, there are selection criteria for deciding which cases should be transferred on day 5 vs. day 3 transfer. Usually, the criteria are related to one or more of the following factors:

  1. The number of follicles on the day of HCG
  2. The number of fertilized eggs
  3. The number of good quality embryos on day 3

This means that only "good" cases are allowed to have blastocyst transfer at most centers. Because of this "selection bias" for the better cases, pregnancy rates would be expected to be higher with blastocyst transfers as compared to day 3 transfers.

We need to be careful about how we interpret this. For example, a program might have a 30% pregnancy rate for day 3 transfers and a 65% pregnancy rate for day 5 transfers. Patients (and the news media in the US) might then think that couples undergoing IVF should have blastocyst transfer so they will have a much better chance for pregnancy.

However, in reality, if the program did all of their cases as day 5 transfers, the pregnancy rate would be somewhere in between the previous day 3 and day 5 rates - and most likely the overall pregnancy rate for the program would be about the same.

This is not to imply that blastocyst transfer is not a good thing. It is an excellent technique for selecting the embryos with the most viability potential (baby-making potential) and for reducing the risk for triplet pregnancy (if we limit the number transferred to 2). However, it is not a magic bullet that will give a dramatic improvement in pregnancy success rates for all couples having IVF.

Cost for blastocyst transfer

We do not charge extra for blastocyst transfer. See our current fees for IVF

Our IVF pregnancy rates with blastocyst transfer
See our overall IVF success rates

4920 N. Central Ave
Suite 2C

Chicago, IL 60630

Phone: (773) 794-1818
Fax: (773) 794-1819

30 Tower Court
Suite F
Gurnee, IL 60031

Phone: (847) 662-1818
Fax: (847) 662-3001

820 E. Terra Cotta Ave (Rte 176)
Suite 118
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Phone: (815) 356-1818
Fax: (815) 356-1866



I am so grateful for Advanced Fertility Center. I just had my son Leland. I want to thank Dr. Catenacci and all of the nurses that helped us. Especially Ashley in the Crystal Lake office. You made this process easier by being supportive and positive. Thank you very much!


Dr. Sherban and his staff are the most amazing, compassionate, and supportive people. After almost 5 years of trying to conceive, going through numerous tests and meeting with another clinic closer to home, who told me my chances even with IVF were still very low, a good friend recommended advanced fertility center of Chicago. Best decision we ever made! We now have 2 amazing children who are now 5 and 3 years old! I cannot stress enough how amazing this staff is, they make you feel like family!


Our experience was amazing with Dr. Cantanucci and all of the nurses (especially Ashley). After ttc for 4 years and at 41 years of age, we became pregnant after 1 round of IVF, and had our beautiful boy this past October. Can't thank them enough!


2/7/15 our son was born all thanks to the assistance of Dr. Sherbahn and his staff. Everyone was so helpful and here for all our questions, worries, etc. They want this for you just as much as you want this for you! Handled with pure professionalism and care from the very start! Thank you advanced fertility!