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New IVF Technology
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women younger than 35 years old only have a 41.5 percent chance of getting pregnant with traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF). Now research published by British fertility experts in Reproductive BioMedicine Online indicates a new device called the EmbryoScope could raise live birthrates by more than 50 percent.
The FDA cleared the way for EmbryoScope to be used in fertility clinics in 2011, but it is only being used in 14 fertility centers nationwide. One of those is Seattle Reproductive Medicine, one of the nation’s leading infertility treatment practices and research centers.
EmbryoScope is an incubator that captures pictures of a patient’s embryos (eggs that have been fertilized by sperm) every 20 minutes, enabling doctors to view time-lapse images of the development of each of the embryos being considered for implantation. This gives doctors approximately 72 images per day of each embryo and more information regarding cell division patterns, greatly increasing the chances of success in selecting the most viable embryos.
According to Seattle Reproductive Medicine’s laboratory director, G. David Ball, Ph.D, HCLD, several groups, including Seattle Reproductive Medicine, are investigating how best to interpret and apply the additional data. It’s a major breakthrough, according to Gerard Letterie, D.O., a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at Seattle Reproductive Medicine. “Embryo growth is a dynamic, ever-changing process where subtle changes in appearances of the embryo can be very meaningful in identifying the single best embryo for transfer,” Letterie says. “The EmbryoScope is one of the most effective innovations to identify the one—or, at most, two—best embryos, limit the number of embryos transferred and thus limit the incidence of multiple pregnancies.”