Predicting embryo survival


As many as two-thirds of all embryos don’t develop successfully. Now, researchers can predict with 93 percent accuracy which embryos will make it and which will fail. The research is from the Stanford University School of Medicine and provides key information regarding the mystery of human development. The study is published online in Nature Biotechnology.

“Until recently, we’ve had so little knowledge about the basic science of our development,” said the study’s senior author Renee Reijo Pera, PhD. “In addition to beginning to understand more about our development, we’re hopeful that our research will help improve pregnancy rates arising from in vitro fertilization, while also reducing the frequency of miscarriage and the need for the selective reduction of multiple embryos.”

The best IVF specialist will observe an embryo develop for three to five days and still only achieve a 35 percent success rate. This is why most women decide to transfer two or more embryos as a time, to increase their chances of success in a single procedure. If all of the embryos should succeed some women undergo selective reduction.

This study’s aim was to find a way to detect viability very early after fertilization, within one to two days, in order to increase the success rate of single egg transplants and reduce the likelihood of selective reduction and miscarriage.

The researchers tracked the embryos and then isolated the ones which developed healthy blastocytes, a key indicator for a viable embryo. They then went back and compared data on those embryos looking for similarities and patterns that might be clues to success. They found three specific parameters, tested them and found they had developed an accurate predictor.

“It completely surprised me that we could predict embryonic fates so well and so early,” Said Reijo Pera. “Women, their families and their physicians want to increase the chances of having one healthy baby and avoid high-risk pregnancies, miscarriages or other adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. It’s truly a women’s health issue that affects the broader family.”

Source: Stanford University Medical Center, Medical News Today


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