The science behind IVF



About Scientific Director, Dr Cecilia Sjoblom


Dr Cecilia Sjoblom has over 16 years experience in the field of IVF and trained at Fertility Centre Scandinavia in Sweden. Dr Sjoblom was awarded her PhD in the field of early human embryo development in 2001 at Göteborg University, Sweden (in collaboration with the University of Adelaide).

She also holds Masters Degrees in Molecular Biology, Chemistry and Education and held an Associate Professor post at the University of Nottingham, UK. With her considerable expertise and knowledge, Dr Sjoblom is frequently called on to help improve the success rates of clinics around the world.

Her research is recognised internationally and she is the inventor of EmbryoGen, a cytokine based culture medium that increases the pregnancy success in women with recurrent miscarriage.

In Dr Sjoblom’s role as Scientific Director at WFC,  she directs the Embryology team and heads the Early Embryo Development and Epigenetics research group. According to Dr Sjoblom, her most important role is working side by side with her team as a ‘hands on’ embryologist in the WFC lab.


Highest quality and latest technology


Laboratory quality is the foundation of every IVF program. WFC Scientific Director, Dr Cecilia Sjoblom and her experienced team of embryologists maintain the highest standards to ensure optimal results in the safest setting possible.

At WFC, we are committed to investing in the continuing education of our embryologists as well as state-of-the-art equipment.  We have the most advanced equipment available and are experts in proven techniques.

As well as being informed about emerging technologies, we play a part in contributing to their development through our research and new approaches.
Having an on-site laboratory means we are able to give you prompt feedback as you are going through treatment. You will find us very approachable and happy to discuss and answer your questions about the technical side of the IVF process.We take the responsibility of looking after your developing eggs extremely seriously and our on-site laboratory meets stringent guidelines in terms of its climate control and air quality.




Embryo development


ICSI_450The day we mix eggs and sperm together is referred to as Day 0. The day after (Day 1), around two-thirds of all mature eggs will fertilise. Two faint circles will be visible inside the fertilised egg. These structures are called ProNuclei (PN) and contain genetic material from the mother and father. This is called a 2PN (see images below).
The embryo has only 1 cell at this stage and it will now begin dividing, known as ‘cleaving’. One cell will cleave into 2 cells and then 4 cells and so on. On Day 2 most embryos will be two or four cells and on Day 3 the embryo should have 6 to 8 cells. Just as the environment changes with the passage of the fertilising egg through the fallopian tubes and uterus, the laboratory environment needs to be altered to mimic the natural environment as closely as possible.
After Day 3 the cells in the embryo will start dividing very quickly and break away from the original egg’s machinery established by the parents. It now takes over control of its own development and progresses from a primitive to a complex entity. This is a crucial stage known as a morula, because only around three or four out of 10 embryos will be able to manage this transition.
On Day 5 the embryo will have more than 200 cells and be what we call a blastocyst. It contains two important cell types – the inner cell mass, which form the actual fetus and and the trophectoderm cells (the thin layer of cells on the outside), which later form part of the placenta.


Embryo development showing progressive cell division from Day 1 through to Blastocyst stage. Note that the blastocyst is more developed with a cavity having formed in the middle

Day 2
2 cell embryo
Day 3
8 cell embryo
Day 4
Day 5
Attend a free information seminar
Westmead ButtonWestmead Doctor, IVF clinic
When: Wednesday 28 November 2018
Time: 6pm
Where: Westmead Hospital