Significantly increasing the chances of IVF


Researchers in China and the US have revealed how their way of finding genetic defects in egg cells could double the success rate of in vitro fertilization, changing the prospects for 1 in 15 infertile couples worldwide.

Whole genome sequencing

Through whole genome sequencing of individual egg cells, this new method could lead to an accurate safe and inexpensive way to select genetically normal embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF). The new approach detects chromosome abnormalities as well as DNA sequence variations associated with known genetic disorders. “In this way, we kill two birds with one stone: one set of deep sequencing analysis to avoid two types of genetic problems,” said study author Jie Qiao, department director and professor of Gynecology and obstetrics, Peking University, 3rd Hospital. “Theoretically, if this works perfectly, we will be able to double the success rate of test tube baby technology from 30% to 60% or even more.”

Testing the cells that die off

Testing cells for genetic defects prior to implantation is risky. Cells must be removed from the embryo to determine its chances of live birth. Also, the current tests to do not detect chromosome abnormalities and genetic disorders based on DNA sequence variations at the same time, during the same test. Whole genome sequencing has been possible with sperm cells so the technology is not new. What is new is using this method on egg cells or embryos. Researchers have developed a way of sequencing the whole of the genetic code of “polar bodies”. These are cells that emerge when egg cells divide but then die off. They can be safely removed without harming the embryo.

Clinical trial eminent

“If the clinical trial works, this technique could enormously increase the success rate of IVF, especially for older women or women who have had recurrent miscarriages,” said Sunney Xie, Millinckrodt Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Cell


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