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IVF success rates “could be doubled” according to researchers

According to a team of researchers at Peking University and Harvard University a new screening method that detects healthy embryos could raise IVF success rates to over 60%, offering new hope to older women who are trying to conceive.

Published in Cell, the study highlights a new screening method that removed left-over fragments of cells, also known as polar bodies, from embryos created from 70 fertilized eggs of volunteer egg donors, using in vitro fertilization. The DNA from the early developing embryos was screened for genetic abnormalities that could lead to IVF failure, miscarriage, or genetic conditions. Co-researcher Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, of Harvard University, says that this procedure could be most useful to women with repeated IVF failures to improve success rates, particularly older women.

However, in viewing this research UK fertility expert and consultant in reproductive medicine and surgery at the Assisted Conception Unit and Guy’s Hospital London, Dr. Yacoub Khalaf cautions:

“The area of screening is appealing in theory but in practice has not delivered. If screening eggs or screening embryos is not robust and reliable it could cost women their eggs or their embryos, both of which are precious and finite.”

While promising, clearly additional research is needed to determine the usefulness of this screening method.

Read more here.

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