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Testing eggs to improve IVF success a step closer

New screening technique could weed out genetically abnormal eggs in the IVF process

Posted: 29 June 2010
by Kimberley Smith
IVF
Scientists hope this new test will improve IVF success by 50%

Doctors are hopeful that a new technique will be able to predict and avoid genetic problems during IVF by screening eggs for genetic defects.

The test is already offered in several clinics in Britain with early results showing a sharp increase in success rates. However, the latest analysis only studied around 200 eggs and could not conclusively say if the method boosted birthrates.

A large trial is due to start next year but preliminary research offers hope that the test will indeed boost IVF success by ensuring that eggs used in treatment are the most likely to succeed.

The screening process may be particularly useful to older women whose eggs tend to be of a lower quality and more prone to chromosomal abnormalities. However, it could add an extra £2000 to the already expensive treatment.

“I hope it will improve pregnancy rates but I can’t say that – that’s why we need another trial,” said Professor Simon Fishel at Care Fertility who pioneered the test. He’s hopeful that this is the beginning of an important innovation in the field.

“I think it’s very exciting. We probably have a technology that is robust and is an objective assessment of the viability of embryos,” said Professor Simon.


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