Finding the viable egg may have gotten easier

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In a groundbreaking study, researchers from Yale School of Medicine have identified the chromosomal make-up of a human egg. This should help clinicians find the best, most viable eggs during infertility treatments in order to have an in vitro fertilization cycle that brings a baby.

Many eggs have the wrong number of chromosomes. If an egg is missing a chromosome or has an extra chromosome, this is called an aneuploidy and the egg will not successfully fertilize. Eggs are surrounded by cells call cumulus cells. These regulate and assist in the process of egg maturation. The cumulus cells hold information about the chromosomal viability of the egg.

“The identification of these genes in cumulus cells can serve as a novel, non-invasive marker to identify abnormal oocytes and thus ultimately improve IVF success rates,” explained Pasquale Patrizio, MD, Yale Fertility Center director. “We can use cumulus cells surrounding the eggs to gain insight into the health of an egg. These cells are now able to inform us about the chromosomal makeup of an egg. This can help us know if it is the ‘right egg’ to be fertilized and produce a baby.”

Cumulus cells have two genes – SPSB2 and TP5313. When these genes are underrepresented in the cumulus cells, the egg is abnormal.

“This finding opens up the possibility of a safe, effective, and inexpensive way of identifying healthy eggs, potentially lowering the risks of miscarriage and Down syndrome,” noted Dagan Wells of the University of Oxford and part of the research team. “By conducting these tests before eggs are fertilized, ethical concerns about analysis of human embryos are avoided.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Yale University


 
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