An exciting discovery was announced which holds great potential for those who have been experiencing difficulty in becoming pregnant, even with the assistance of the usual fertility medications. A new real-time imaging program allowed researchers to observe how embryos develop at the earliest stages of development. What this ultimately means for couples trying to become pregnant, is that in conjunction with fertility medication treatments, doctors will have the ability to know which eggs are viable enough for transplantation, which increases the odds of a successful pregnancy and live birth.
The New IVF Procedure versus the Old IVF Procedure
Currently a woman’s eggs are assessed by observable measurements such as rate of growth of the embryo. This is done by extracting an embryonic cell, with the assumption that at this earliest stage all embryonic cells are the same as the others. However, the researchers have definitively discovered that this is no longer the truth. They are all different from one another. What this means for those going through countless rounds of fertility meds and fertility drug treatments is that researchers would be able to observe every cell within the embryo and allow fertility specialists to decide if an embryo would withstand implantation. This would all be done without physical manipulation, but would be done, instead, with a laser. This gives a higher likelihood that the embryos selected for implantation would have a better chance at success.
Dr Sadhana Nadarajah, a researcher who is involved in this ongoing study stated that “This novel method of screening embryos is indeed exciting. If it can be successfully used on human embryos, without affecting its successive growth, it will improve the technique of embryo selection in IVF.”
The Need for Improved IVF Procedures, Research, and Fertility Meds
One of the key reasons for the study in the first place was the statistical data that suggested that in many places around the world, women are putting off having children until later on in their lives, which has been directly linked to infertility, or problems with conception. With more women turning to IVF procedures and IVF drugs, there is a constant need to monitor and improve what is currently available. This new discovery is just one among many studies that are currently seeking to build upon the success of current IVF drugs and IVF processes to continue to offer women choices and alternatives.
The Science Behind the New IVF Imaging to Treat Infertility
The imaging itself utilizes time lapse photography. The researchers then tracked nearly 70 couples who had gone through IVF, or were currently receiving IVF medications and/or treatments. The researchers looked back at the time lapsed photos of the embryos, and they found that just over 70% of the embryos that their assessment selected as low risk, went on to result in nearly 60% live births. In other methods the birth rate was just over 40%. What had been happening prior to this new technique was that eggs were considered viable after a half dozen observations as they developed. This meant that at some point the eggs had to be removed from the incubator and placed under the microscope for evaluation. New information states that one of the largest reasons for IVF failure was not due to the fertility medications being used, but due to the inability of labs, thus far, to know if that embryo had an abnormal number of chromosomes.
This new imaging technique for couples utilizing IVF procedures and IVF medications is a giant leap ahead, most scientists agree, and its far reaching implications are still being uncovered. It may very well be that in the future, fertility medications and procedures will reach a higher and higher success rate, allowing couples to start their families.