Automatic characterization of human embryos at day 4 post-insemination from time-lapse imaging using supervised contrastive learning and inductive transfer learning techniques

Elena Payá, Lorena Bori, Adrián Colomer, Marcos Meseguer, Valery Naranjo
Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine Available online 16 May 2022, 106895. In Press, Journal Pre-proof. 2022 doi:


Background: Embryo morphology is a predictive marker for implantation success and ultimately live births. Viability evaluation and quality grading are commonly used to select the embryo with the highest implantation potential. However, the traditional method of manual embryo assessment is time-consuming and highly susceptible to inter- and intra-observer variability. Automation of this process results in more objective and accurate predictions. Method: In this paper, we propose a novel methodology based on deep learning to automatically evalu- ate the morphological appearance of human embryos from time-lapse imaging. A supervised contrastive learning framework is implemented to predict embryo viability at day 4 and day 5, and an inductive transfer approach is applied to classify embryo quality at both times. Results: Results showed that both methods outperformed conventional approaches and improved state-of- the-art embryology results for an independent test set. The viability result achieved an accuracy of 0.8103 and 0.9330 and the quality results reached values of 0.7500 and 0.8001 for day 4 and day 5, respectively. Furthermore, qualitative results kept consistency with the clinical interpretation. Conclusions: The proposed methods are up to date with the artificial intelligence literature and have been proven to be promising. Furthermore, our findings represent a breakthrough in the field of embryology in that they study the possibilities of embryo selection at day 4. Moreover, the grad-CAMs findings are directly in line with embryologists’ decisions. Finally, our results demonstrated excellent potential for the inclusion of the models in clinical practice.