Embryo ‘quality check’ could double IVF success rate

Just read this article from The Times today

Here is an extract from the article

Infertile couples could double their chances of starting a family by IVF, with an embryo quality test developed by British and American scientists.

The first trial of the procedure, which identifies embryos with the best chances of developing into healthy babies, delivered remarkable results that suggest it could transform IVF success rates, while helping to prevent damaging multiple pregnancies.

Of 23 women to have their embryos genetically screened with the technology, two have given birth while another 16 are currently pregnant and have passed the point at which miscarriages typically occur. Another two became pregnant but miscarried.

The 78 per cent success rate is particularly outstanding because all the patients had a poor prognosis, with an average age of 37½ and a history of failed attempts at IVF or miscarriage.

Dagan Wells, of the University of Oxford, who leads the research team, has applied for permission from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to offer the test at the Oxford Fertility Unit, and a British trial is expected to begin next year. The test will eventually cost about £2,000.

It could raise success rates when only a single embryo is used. The HFEA has launched a strategy to promote single embryo transfer, to guard against twin and triplet pregnancies – the biggest health risk of IVF.

Dr Wells said: “The pregnancy rates we’ve got so far are absolutely phenomenal.” The probability that one embryo leads to a pregnancy is doubled, he said. “That means that you’ve got a much better chance of a pregnancy if you do a single embryo transfer.”

The new procedure to detect chromosomal defects called aneuploidies was developed by Dr Wells with colleagues from the Colorado Centre for Reproductive Medicine near Denver.

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Click here to read related article ‘Twins on the way after more thorough testing’

Click here to read the fertility docotrs response to the new IVF embryo test