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Hope for IVF success rates

Dr Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

15 May 2002

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[BioNews, London] A team of scientists from the University of York and doctors from Leeds General Infirmary, UK, have developed a new embryo selection procedure which may one day improve success rates in IVF procedures.

IVF embryos are usually analysed under the microscope in order to see if any of them are abnormal or not developing properly. In the new test, developed by a team led by Professor Henry Leese, two-day-old embryos were observed in an amino acid culture medium. The embryos were monitored to see how the cells consumed or produced the acids. It is thought that this non-invasive process indicates whether or not the embryos are more likely to achieve a successful pregnancy, if implanted into the womb. Professor Leese said that the 'healthier' embryos appear to have a 'quieter metabolism'.

The research team believes that the new test has the potential for increasing the success rates of IVF procedures, which currently stand at just under 20 per cent per single treatment cycle. If this is the case, Leese said that it could lower the 'financial and emotional cost' of IVF. It could also reduce the numbers of multiple births and their associated risks and cost.

The test has been welcomed by many in the fertility world, although further tests will be necessary to refine the procedure. Clinical trials will now take place and it is hoped that a diagnostic test can be on the market within three years. Lynn Fraser, professor of reproductive biology at Guy's, King's and St Thomas' medical school in London, called the research 'promising' but said that a less complex test would need to be developed.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 15 May 2002   Date Updated: 12 September 2004
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