Free fertility treatment offered in trial
Dr Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust26 September 2006
A UK fertility clinic has offered fifty couples the chance to take part in a trial of a 'modified form of IVF'. Following strict assessments, eligible patients will receive the treatment - including all drugs and 'the unique embryology and genetic testing' - for free. CARE Fertility centre in Nottingham says that the trial, if successful, could 'revolutionise' fertility treatment.
The new form of treatment involved in the trial aims to maximise the chances of a successful pregnancy by making sure that embryos transferred to the woman during treatment are the best - thereby minimising the rates of failed implantation and/or miscarriage. A similar study has already been undertaken in the US, which demonstrated greatly improved success rates and a reduction in the miscarriage rate. The implantation rate in the US study was above 70 per cent and the ongoing pregnancy rate was 'well over' 60 per cent - far higher than normal success rates for IVF.
According to information press released by CARE Fertility, about 70 per cent of human embryos do not go on to form successful pregnancies, both in natural and assisted conception. One of the major causes of embryo loss, says CARE Fertility, is chromosomal abnormalities within the embryos themselves, some of which may prevent correct development or implantation. Many of these chromosomal problems increase with the age of the mother.
Doctors and researchers from CARE Fertility have worked alongside US doctors and now plan to introduce the new IVF technique to the UK. The initial trial, which is already closed to applications, will begin later this year - but details of exactly what it will entail - other than some form of chromosomal testing - have yet to be released. Dr Simon Thornton, Medical Director of the CARE Fertility Group, said that 'until now, the selection of embryos has been very 'hit and miss' - the embryologists having to choose on how embryos look under the microscope'. He added that 'this unsatisfactory approach can now be replaced using new, exciting scientific methods to study the actual chromosomes which will provide an opportunity to double the current chances of IVF working'.
Dr Simon Fishel, Managing Director of Care Fertility, added that the US trial 'has given us great cause for optimism that at last we can conquer one of the great inefficiencies of IVF - the failure of a single embryo to make a baby more than 50 per cent of the time'. He added that 'we now believe this approach, if repeated at CARE Fertility in Nottingham, will change the way IVF is done and give couples even more opportunity for success - our goal has to be 'one embryo, one baby'. He told the Sun newspaper that he cannot disclose any details about the trial, adding that 'I can say that I am very, very excited about it'.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.