New IVF Breakthrough

A new IVF technique that takes thousands of snapshots of a developing embryo is said to be able to assist doctors pick those most likely to implant successfully and develop into healthy babies. The technique which was developed in the UK is already being used to select “low risk” embryos that are least likely to have abnormalities. The study published states that the team’s chances of producing a successful live birth after in-vitro fertilization were increased by 56% using the new technique. The previous method involved selecting embryos that looked the best via a microscope.

“In the 35 years I have been in this field, this is probably the most exciting and significant development that can be of value to all patients seeking IVF,” said Simon Fishel, a leading fertility doctor and director at the IVF clinic operator CARE Fertility where the technique is being developed.

Independent scientists not involved in the work welcomed it as a significant advance but said full randomized controlled trials – the gold standard in medicine – should be conducted before it is adopted as mainstream practice.

“This paper is interesting because we really do need to make advances in selecting the best embryos created during IVF,” said Allan Pacey of Sheffield University, chair of the British Fertility Society.

“The idea of monitoring embryo development more closely is being used increasingly in clinics around the world and so it is good to see the science involved submitted to peer review and publication,” he added. “All too often, developments in IVF are trumpeted as advances when they remain unproven.”

It is estimated that 1-2% of babies in the western world are conceived using IVF.

Using this new knowledge, the team developed what they call morphokinetic algorithms to predict success (MAPS). By applying these MAPS to the selection of embryos, they predict they could reach a live birth rate for patients undergoing IVF of 78 percent – about three times the national average.


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