FOR families like the Ryans, being able to see their embryos growing could have been just what was needed to get them through the IVF journey.
An Australia-first app by fertility group Genea will give IVF patients 24-hour access to photos and videos of their embryos during the five days they spend in an incubator.
Christine Ryan said the Grow app would provide a little glimmer of hope.
Mrs Ryan, a deputy principal in Sydney’s southwest, said the photos and videos would come at a time when everything else in your pursuit to start a family is out of your control.
Dr Derek Lok, based at Genea’s Liverpool clinic, has been in the reproductive industry for 15 years.
He said being able to see the embryo was an important part of the process.
“By adding the camera in the incubator, it takes a picture every five minutes over the five days of development.
“We’ve had access to that for over a year, but giving patients access is only very new.”
He said one of the biggest failures the IVF industry was facing was patients stopping treatment because of the stress.
He said he had worked with many couples who were heartbroken with the IVF process.
“I’ve seen people who had 10 cycles at another fertility clinic — all of them failed,” he said.
“I see the struggles. They fail and they are desperate.”
He said that stress emanated from the uncertainty and unknown.
“This app empowers patients.
“If they can understand the process, they have more control,” he said.
Mrs Ryan said she felt punished each time she miscarried.
“I can’t explain the anger. It was really heart-wrenching,” she said.
Coming from a Greek background, she said talking about infertility was taboo.
And, because she was older, her grandmother and father said she was “going to be left on the shelf”.
She fell in love in her mid-30s and had her first child via IVF in her late-30s.
“My future as a mother was always in the hands of someone else,” she said.
The app is currently in the trial phase but will be available to all Genea IVF patients soon.
By Stacy Thomas
Originally published on The Daily Telegraph