IVF success improved by ultrasound embryo transfer
Progress Educational Trust24 February 2007
IVF is more likely to be successful if embryos are transferred with the use of ultrasound, rather than the traditional clinical touch method. A new review study has found that the ultrasound method gives women a 32 per cent chance of viable pregnancy as compared to 25 per cent via the usual method.
The clinical touch method is considered a blind technique, because it relies on the clinician's touch to guide the catheter to the correct position and then inject the embryos. With ultrasound-guided embryo transfer (UGET), the chance of pregnancy is increased because it is easier for the clinician to confirm the catheter is in the right location before releasing the embryos.
Only a small proportion of women undergoing IVF will achieve a clinical pregnancy, with even fewer achieving a live birth, despite the fact that 80 per cent of women undertaking the procedure will reach the embryo transfer stage with good-quality embryos. Up to 85 per cent of embryos will fail to implant due to poor embryo quality, lack of uterine receptivity or the transfer technique itself.
The review was conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, a UK group that draws evidence-based conclusions about medical practice through the evaluation of existing trials. The results of the review into embryo transfer have not surprised those involved. Lead author Dr Julie Brown, of the University of Auckland, said: 'We would intuitively expect a better outcome with respect to pregnancy rates with ultrasound-guided transfer over a "blind" procedure'. While the study reported on an increased pregnancy success rate, it did not report on the outcome of births in the study.
Experts have supported the findings, and recommend that women ask for the UGET approach, as it may make a different to achieving a pregnancy in some cases. In the future, it is expected that methods of embryo transfer will continue to improve.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.