In a WA first, couples undergoing IVF will be able to watch time-lapse videos of their developing embryo as early as one day after conception.

A mobile app developed by fertility group Genea allows parents to watch multiple embryos developing, by capturing images every five minutes to form a mini time-lapse video. Known as Grow, the app is in a trial phase and will be offered to Hollywood Fertility Centre patients in the next few months.

Clinic medical director Simon Turner said the Australian-first app gave IVF patients 24/7 access to photos and videos of their embryos during the five days they spent growing in an incubator in the embryology laboratory.

Couples would be able to download images and videos and email them to family and friends.

“After being highly involved in the early part of an IVF cycle with blood tests and ultrasounds, patients can feel a little detached once their eggs and sperm are collected and developing as embryos for five days in the lab,” Dr Turner said.

“Giving them access to photos and videos of their developing embryos through the Grow app will help them feel more connected and involved in the process.

“It will also help them understand what’s happening with their embryos as the embryologist describes the development to them.”

The incubators can capture time-lapse footage of every embryo on days one, three, five and six of development.

Genea scientific director Steven McArthur said the incubators had six chambers and each patient’s embryos had their own space and camera.

“Our scientists already evaluate the embryos and select the best for transfer, and they call patients to give them an update,” he said.

“But now it means patients can see what is happening, and as they say, a picture can tell a thousand words.”

While not all embryos would turn out to be suitable, feedback from a trial suggested parents better understood the process after seeing the images.

Bianca Woolhouse and her husband Dean hope to use the technology in the next few months, as they try for their second child through IVF.

Their son Domenic was born almost two years ago, after they tried to have a baby for three years.

“We would absolutely love to use this app because often you’re sitting around waiting to get an update, but to be able to see what’s happening would be fantastic,” she said.

“You have something visual to connect with when the embryologist is talking to you, whether it’s positive or negative news.”