For older women, second embryo biopsy recommended


A new study confirms that the most commonly used method of screening for embryo abnormalities following in vitro fertilization (IVF) will accurately predict the success of transplantation for younger women, but not necessarily for older women. A second type of screening is recommended.

Biopsy of TE cells usually done

IVF labs screen blastocysts for chromosomal abnormalities by taking a biopsy of the trophectoderm (TE) cells, the cells that will later become placenta and umbilical cord. They are assessed with a DNA microarray. However, human embryos are susceptible to mosaicism. This is when one group of cells develops differently from a neighboring group due to a spontaneous DNA mutation. This will cause chromosomes to differ not only among TE cells but also between these nascent placental cells and inner cell mass (ICM) cells. These cells develop into the embryo.

That biopsy is generally accurate for young women

For the study researchers studied 244 blastocysts from women undergoing IVF, biopsied the TE cells and evaluated the chromosomes. They found that 56.56% of the cells had abnormal number of chromosomes. In line with other studies, blastocysts from women aged 38 or older were found to be much more likely to have abnormalities than from women who were younger (56.4% to 43.9%). Only 18% of embryos from women aged 41 and older had regular chromosomes and were suitable for transplantation.

Older women can benefit from biopsy of ICM cells as well

After this first assessment, the group re-biopsied 13 of the abnormal blastocysts to compare the TE cells and the ICM cells from the same embryos. Nine of the cells were found to be mosaic and four had normal ICM cells meaning they potentially could have produced a healthy baby.

Researchers concluded that for women over age 41, both tests will secure a better indication of egg viability. The TE and ICM cells need to be tested.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Society of Study of Reproduction


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