A new DNA test may help improve IVF success rates

A new DNA test developed by an international team of researchers may help improve the success rates of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The test uses cutting-edge DNA technology (i.e., “next generation sequencing”) to assess whether or not embryos have a normal number of chromosomes, problematic genes, and healthy mitochondria. Since chromosomal, genetic, and mitochondrial abnormalities can lead to miscarriage or negative fetal outcomes, only those embryos assessed as being normal and healthy are chosen to be transferred to a woman’s womb during the IVF process. Selecting and transferring only the best embryos is thought to significantly increase the likelihood of achieving a viable pregnancy.

Says lead researcher Dr. Dagan Wells,

Many of the embryos produced during infertility treatments have no chance of becoming a baby because they carry lethal genetic abnormalities. Next generation sequencing improves our ability to detect these abnormalities and helps us identify the embryos with the best chances of producing a viable pregnancy. Potentially, this should lead to improved IVF success rates and a lower risk of miscarriage.”

Marybeth Scheidts and her husband David Levy tried unsuccessfully to have a family for 5 years. They eventually took part in a small-scale trial investigating the new DNA test. Only three of their 13 embryos were deemed “normal” and one was transferred into Scheidts’ womb – which ultimately resulted in a successful pregnancy. The couple recently welcomed their son, Connor Levy, into the world. Says Scheidts,

The first time I saw Connor, I was smashed with emotion. David and I are crazy, insanely in love with this kid.” 

More research is needed to further investigate this new procedure. A large-scale trial is scheduled to take place in the United Kingdom later this year.

To read more about this new DNA test, click here and here.


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