3 Person IVF

Test claims to boost IVF success by half

Fertility researchers have discovered a new way to identify embryos that are more likely to implant in the womb, which could help to increase IVF success rates by up to 50%.

A research team led by Dr. Elpida Fragouli at Oxford University in the UK, found that embryos with lower levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), genetic material that is found in the tiny power packs of the cells, were more likely to implant than those with high levels. The team took biopsies from 392 embryos on the 5th day of development when mtDNA levels start to rise. Of 87 women who had embryos transferred to their wombs, 44 resulted in a pregnancy while 48 failed to implant.

Their findings showed that higher levels of mtDNA were more likely in embryos that carried genetic defects or were from older women, whereas lower levels of mDNA were found in the embryos that implanted. The researchers identified a threshold of mtDNA quantity below which implantation was guaranteed. According to Dr. Fragouli, by using pre-implantation testing for mtDNA, this discovery can help doctors select the embryos that are most likely to result in a pregnancy.

Dr. Fragouli said it wasn’t clear why high levels of mtDNA should negatively affect implantation:

“…there may be a problem, not necessarily in the chromosomes, and extra energy is needed to correct the problem, but it is not really fixable.”

Read more about pre-implantation genetic screening here.

Read more about the test here.


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