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News: First UK Baby with Three-Person DNA Born to Prevent Mitochondrial Diseases

IVF.net Newsdesk 10 May 2023

The United Kingdom has welcomed its first baby conceived with DNA from three individuals, thanks to a revolutionary IVF technique called mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT). This groundbreaking method aims to prevent children from inheriting incurable diseases caused by mutated mitochondrial DNA.

MDT combines sperm and egg from the biological parents with healthy mitochondria from a female donor's egg. As a result, the baby receives DNA from both parents, as well as a small percentage of genetic material from the donor. The phrase "three-parent babies" has emerged due to the technique, even though more than 99.8% of the DNA comes from the mother and father.

The Newcastle Fertility Centre pioneered MDT research, intending to help women with mutated mitochondria have healthy children without passing on genetic disorders. In 2015, the UK Parliament approved MDT, and by 2018, the Newcastle clinic was licensed to perform the procedure. The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has since granted permission for at least 30 cases on a case-by-case basis.

The HFEA confirmed that a few babies have been born in the UK following MDT, without providing further details or an exact number. The treatment program experienced delays due to the pandemic, which discouraged some donors and affected couples seeking therapy.

These details have come to light following a Freedom of Information request submitted by The Guardian newspaper.

While MDT is a significant breakthrough, it is not without risks. In some cases, abnormal mitochondria from the mother's egg can multiply in the donor egg, potentially leading to disease in the child. However, clinical experience with MDT has been promising, but long-term follow-up is crucial to determine its safety and efficacy.


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News: The Skills of Intrauterine Insemination

Dr. Sarabpreet Singh 05 May 2023
The Skills of Intrauterine Insemination

The Fertilis Academy in association with Sadbhavna IVF School is offering "The Skills of Intrauterine Insemination" for Gynecologists Embryologists, Andrologists, and IVF Professionals planning to enhance their skills.

➤ 2-Days Live Interactive Course
➤ Recording available on the app

📍Course Details -

➤ Day 1

Where does IUI work best
The stimulation, the trigger, and the luteal phase support
IUI Lab Set up
Q & A Session

➤ Day 2

IUI Step by Step
Workup of the male partner
Principles of Semen Preparation
Semen preparation step by step
Q & A Session

📍Date - 25th - 26th May 2023
📍Venue - Online
📍Timing - 5:30 PM Onwards IST

Apply through the given link below-

https://www.thefertilisacademy.com/skills-intrauterine-insemination/

📍For any queries,
Call us: +91 887 283 3919
Whatsapp us - wa.link/3ww6tg

Explore more about us at www.thefertilisacademy.com

**Certificate will be awarded at the end of the course.


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News: ART & Embryology training program

Chennai Fertility Center and Research Institute 02 May 2023
ART & Embryology training program

June 2023 Training Batch Schedule - 05th June - 19th June 2023.

The International School of Embryology was established to offer training for clinicians in advanced reproductive technologies. Our skill and precision to all aspirants help them to know in-depth knowledge and experience. The members of our teaching faculty aim to bring doctors and embryologists to the highest level of knowledge about reproductive techniques and practical capability in the field.

Our courses cover basics in Andrology, embryology, ICSI, and cryosciences (Hands-on).

Limited Seats. For admission Contact  9003111598 / 8428278218 (Whats app)


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News: Discovery of ARRDC5: A Potential Breakthrough in Male Contraceptive Development

IVF.net Newsdesk 01 May 2023

Researchers at Washington State University have discovered a gene specific to male testes that could lead to the development of a highly effective, reversible, and non-hormonal male contraceptive for both humans and animals. The gene, known as Arrdc5, is expressed in the testicular tissue of mice, pigs, cattle, and humans. When the gene was knocked out in mice, male infertility resulted, impacting sperm count, movement, and shape.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, identified the Arrdc5 gene as being expressed only in testicular tissue, and in multiple mammalian species. When the gene was inactivated or inhibited in males, the sperm produced could not fertilize an egg, making it an ideal target for male contraceptive development. Importantly, lack of the gene also causes significant infertility, creating a condition called oligoasthenoteratospermia or OAT, which is the most common diagnosis for human male infertility. In the study, male mice lacking the gene produced 28% less sperm that moved 2.8 times slower than in normal mice, and about 98% of their sperm had abnormal heads and mid-pieces.

Disrupting the protein encoded by the Arrdc5 gene would not require hormonal interference, which is a significant hurdle in male contraception. The protein could be targeted by a drug, making the contraceptive easily reversible. As the gene is found across mammalian species, the discovery also holds promise for use in animals, potentially replacing castration as a way to control reproduction in livestock or to limit overpopulation of wildlife species. The initial focus, however, is on giving humans more control over their own reproduction. With more than half of pregnancies worldwide still unintended, according to the United Nations, the development of an effective male contraceptive could have far-reaching impacts.

The research team will work on designing a drug that would inhibit the production or function of the protein encoded by the Arrdc5 gene. They have filed a provisional patent for the development of a male contraceptive based on this gene and the protein it encodes. The study received support from the National Institutes of Health and WSU's Functional Genomics Initiative.

Sources and References


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News: Unmarried Women and IVF: China's Solution to Demographic Decline?

IVF.net Newsdesk 30 April 2023

China's demographic decline is an increasing concern for the nation, and unmarried women seeking IVF treatment might be part of the solution. Recently, Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern Sichuan province, legalized the registration of children by unmarried women, granting them access to paid maternity leave, child subsidies, and the possibility of legal IVF treatment in private clinics. Chen Luojin, a 33-year-old divorced woman from Chengdu, is now 10 weeks pregnant through IVF, a testament to the policy's potential success.

The Chinese government has been considering implementing these changes nationwide to address the record low birth rates. Liberalizing IVF across the country could significantly increase demand for fertility treatment, straining the already limited fertility services. However, investors in the industry see a growth opportunity.

China's National Health Commission (NHC) has not commented publicly on the recommendations, but they have acknowledged that many young women are delaying plans to marry and have children due to high costs of education and child-rearing. In February, the Sichuan branch of the NHC announced changes aimed at promoting "long-term and balanced population development."

Despite challenges such as gender power imbalances, societal stigma, and uncertainty over IVF incentives, increasing access to fertility services might have a significant impact on China's demographic issues. Around 300,000 babies are currently born in China via IVF annually, making up about 3% of all newborns. As more Chinese women postpone or give up on having babies, many still desire to become mothers. For them, IVF treatments could be the solution, offering a new avenue to motherhood regardless of marital status.

Sources and References

Reuters:
China weighs giving single women IVF access to stem population decline


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News: First babies born using ICSI robot

IVF.net Newsdesk 28 April 2023
First babies born using ICSI robot

Last spring, engineers from Barcelona shipped their sperm-injecting robot to New York City's New Hope Fertility Center, where they reassembled the instrument, including a microscope, mechanized needle, petri dish, and laptop. An engineer with no experience in fertility medicine then used a PlayStation 5 controller to position the robotic needle, which autonomously penetrated a human egg and delivered a single sperm cell. Over a dozen eggs were fertilized using the robot, resulting in healthy embryos and eventually two baby girls.

The robot, developed by startup Overture Life, represents an initial step towards automating in vitro fertilization (IVF) and potentially making the procedure more affordable and widespread. Currently, trained embryologists earning over $125,000 per year delicately handle sperm and eggs using ultra-thin hollow needles under a microscope in IVF labs. Overture envisions an automated process, with their patent application describing a "biochip" containing hidden reservoirs of growth fluids and small channels for sperm.

Santiago Munné, chief innovation officer at Overture Life, believes that if IVF could be performed in a desktop instrument, patients might not need to visit specialized clinics, where a single attempt at pregnancy can cost $20,000 in the US. Instead, a patient's eggs could be directly input into an automated fertility system at a gynecologist's office, significantly reducing costs.

With approximately 500,000 children born through IVF globally each year, automating the process could increase access to fertility medicine for those who cannot afford or access it. However, fully automating IVF is challenging, as test-tube conception involves numerous procedures, and Overture's robot currently performs only one of them and only partially.

Some doctors are skeptical that robots can or should replace embryologists soon, while others see automation playing a more limited role, such as dispensing consistent droplets of growth medium for embryos. Despite the hurdles, automating parts of the IVF process could make it less expensive and pave the way for more radical innovations like gene editing or artificial wombs.

Sources and References

MIT Technology Review


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News: ART & Embryology training program

Chennai Fertility Center and Research Institute 26 April 2023
ART & Embryology training program

May 2023 Training Batch Schedule - 08th May- 22nd May 2023.

The International School of Embryology was established to offer training for clinicians in advanced reproductive technologies. Our skill and precision to all aspirants help them to know in-depth knowledge and experience. The members of our teaching faculty aim to bring doctors and embryologists to the highest level of knowledge about reproductive techniques and practical capability in the field.

Our courses cover basics in Andrology, embryology, ICSI, and cryosciences (Hands-on).

Limited Seats. For admission Contact  9003111598 / 8428278218 (Whats app)


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News: BRILLIANT MINDS: NEW APPROACHES IN ART AND FERTILITY TREATMENT

International IVF Initiative 24 April 2023
BRILLIANT MINDS: NEW APPROACHES IN ART AND FERTILITY TREATMENT

Tuesday, 9th May (3 pm EST / 8 pm UK / 9 pm CET)

Moderators:
Fran Farlie, Francesca Steyn and Abigail Sirus 

Presenters:
Dr. Helen O’Neill “Data transforming women’s healthcare” 

Victoria Roberson “Regulating AI and new technologies in medicine”.

Daniella Gilboa “Taking the IVF clinic through a digital transformation - how to do it right”.
A talk kindly sponsored by AIVF

Q & A and discussion on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and big data transforming ART and Fertility treatment

REGISTER HERE


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News: Study Finds High-Dose Gonadotrophin Stimulation Impacts Oocyte and Early-Stage Embryo Development in IVF Treatments

IVF.net Newsdesk 22 April 2023

Researchers have recently published findings of a retrospective study comparing natural cycle IVF (NC-IVF) and conventional IVF (cIVF) treatments to investigate the impact of high-dose gonadotrophin stimulation on oocyte and early-stage embryo development. The study analyzed 616 NC-IVF and 167 cIVF cycles, involving a total of 2110 oocytes.

In NC-IVF cycles, only human chorionic gonadotrophin was used to trigger ovulation. In contrast, cIVF cycles employed antagonist protocols, with daily doses of 150-300 IU of human menopausal gonadotrophins. The primary outcomes of the study were the presence of mature (metaphase II) eggs, zygotes, and embryos with good morphology two days after egg retrieval.

The study found that the mature oocyte rate, the zygote rate per oocyte retrieved, and the zygote rate per mature oocyte were all significantly higher in NC-IVF cycles than in cIVF cycles. However, no difference was observed in the percentage of zygotes that developed into cleavage-stage embryos. For transferred embryos the likelihood of having a good embryo morphology with four blastomeres and a fragmentation of <10% in cleavage-stage embryos was also higher in NC-IVF cycles.

These results suggest that high-dose gonadotrophin stimulation affects oocyte maturity, fertilization, and morphology of cleavage-stage embryos in fresh IVF cycles. Despite the retrospective nature of the study and the inclusion of several treatment cycles per participant, the research offers valuable insights into the impact of gonadotrophin stimulation on oocyte and embryo development.

It is important to note that while the study found differences in oocyte and embryo parameters, no significant differences were detected in pregnancy and live birth rates. Additional research is needed to determine whether the observed effects on oocyte and embryo development also impact pregnancy and live birth outcomes.

This study contributes to the growing body of evidence suggesting that high-dose exogenous gonadotrophins may affect oocyte and embryo quality, with potential implications for IVF treatments, particularly for poor and very poor responders. Further research is needed to evaluate the potential impact of these findings on pregnancy and live birth rates, as well as to explore alternative treatment strategies for patients with diminished ovarian reserve.

Sources and References

Does high-dose gonadotrophin stimulation have an effect on oocyte and early-stage embryo development?
Reproductive BioMedicine Online


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News: Eggs produced from male stem cells lead to creation of mice with two fathers

Dr Emma Green 03 April 2023

Egg cells have been generated from male mouse cells and, once fertilised and implanted into female mice, have developed seemingly healthy, fertile offspring.

The research was presented at the Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing at the Francis Crick Institute in London, by Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi, now at Osaka University, Japan. However, the work has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. This early, proof-of-concept technique could assist with some types of infertility and, if able to overcome a number of technical and ethical barriers, could eventually lead to children with two biological fathers.

'This is the first case of making robust mammal oocytes [egg cells] from male cells,' Professor Hayashi said in his presentation.

The original aim of the research was to address infertility in women with Turner syndrome who only have one X chromosome, since egg development requires two X chromosomes. The researchers chose to use male cells which have an X and a Y chromosome, since the Y chromosome is smaller, and can be lost naturally when cells are grown in the lab.

The process first involved turning male mouse skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which have the potential to develop into almost any type of cell. They then extracted the cells which had naturally lost the Y chromosome. The researchers then used a technique to generate cells with two X chromosomes. By providing a mixture of signals, they were able to turn the XX iPSCs into immature eggs. The eggs were then fertilised with mouse sperm and the embryos were transferred to the uterus of female mice.

The mouse pups generated from this technique were healthy, grew normally, and were fertile adults. However, the success rate was low, with only seven pups developing from 630 transferred embryos.

'The trick of this, the biggest trick, is the duplication of the X chromosome,' said Professor Hayashi. 'We really tried to establish a system to duplicate the X chromosome.'

During his speech, Professor Hayashi confirmed that much work still needs to be undertaken and that any medical applications of this work are still a long way off. The research team are currently comparing the mice generated from this technique to those bred using conventional methods.

'There are big differences between a mouse and the human,' said Professor Hayashi. He explained that these differences can complicate the transfer of research from the lab to the clinic, in particular because egg and embryo development takes much longer in humans than in mice.

'If you're going to apply this in humans, you really want to err on the side of safety, caution and efficiency,' Professor Keith Latham, a developmental biologist at Michigan State University (who was not involved in the research) told New Scientist.

Sources and References


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