A breakthrough fertility technique could increase the chances of couples having a healthy baby through in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The new procedure triples' a couple chances and may result in a significant increase in birth rates.
The new technique is based on time-lapse photography, which is an old imaging technique. The camera records a series of images at regular intervals in this type of photography.
Doctors use this technology to monitor the development of IVF embryos before transferring them into the womb. In a new study, researchers developed a way to detect which embryos had a lower or higher chance of having an abnormal amount of chromosomes or aneuploidy, using collected data.
"Recently the world of IVF has become very excited by the use of time-lapse imaging (TLI) of early human embryo development to follow the change of embryo morphology over time," editor of Reproductive BioMedicine Online, Martin Johnson said.
For the study, researchers analyzed time-lapse imaging photos from 69 couples that had IVF to see if their technique was capable of identifying the embryos that were more likely to result in pregnancy.
"This may well be the technique we have been waiting for to improve embryo selection and thus success in fertility treatment," Professor of reproductive medicine at Queen's University Belfast, Sheena Lewis said.
Researchers found that 73 percent of the embryos analyzed that would have been considered as low risk for aneuploidy resulted in pregnancy at five to six weeks.
"This non-invasive model for the classification of chromosomal abnormality may be used to avoid selecting embryos with high risk of aneuploidy while selecting those with reduced risk," lead author Alison Campbell said. The results of the study are promising and further research is needed to compare its results to current methods. Results of the study were published in the journal, Reproductive BioMedicine Online.