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New technique reveals which embryos have best chance of IVF success

Scientists believe they could improve the success of IVF pregnancies by looking for movements within fertilised eggs before they're implanted

Posted: 11 August 2011
by Lara Brunt
IVF research
Researchers looked for ways to assess fertilised embryos more effectively, allowing fewer embryos to be implanted

Researchers have developed a technique that could provide a quick, non-invasive way to identify which fertilised eggs to implant during IVF - and hopefully lead to improved success.

During experiments on mice, scientists from the University of Cambridge found that when a sperm entered an egg, the jelly-like liquid inside the egg would start to pulsate soon afterwards. 

"The pattern of those movements is predictive of whether the embryo will have successful developments throughout the entire pregnancy," said Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, who led the research.

The researchers hope to start trials involving human embryos at IVF clinics within a few months.

"Within a year's time we should know whether such movements are predictive of the successful development of human embryos," said Professor Zernicka-Goetz.

At the moment, there are no satisfactory methods to predict which fertilised eggs will develop into good quality embryos, apart from waiting for several days to see what happens. This method would enable doctors to implant only the healthiest of embryos, leading to safer pregnacies and better success rates.

Also in the news:

Simple hormone test predicts how long women remain fertile

Crackdown on 'rip-off' IVF clinics

IVF pregnancy breakthrough

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