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Breakthrough Could Improve Success Rate Of In Vitro Fertilization

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have been able to predict, with 93% accuracy, which fertilized eggs will make it to a crucial very early stage of development and which will not.

According to Science Daily, “the results indicate that embryos are likely predestined for survival or death before even the first cell division.” Understanding this mechanism for survival could make it possible for fertilization specialists to select only the survival-prone embryos for transfer and thus improve the chances for pregnancy and reduce the chances of miscarriage or necessity for multiple embryo transfers.

Lead author of the study, Renee Reijo Pera, PhD, writes:

“…we’re hopeful that our research will help improve pregnancy rates arising from in vitro fertilization, while also reducing the frequency of miscarriage and the need for the selective reduction of multiple embryos.”

What’s amazing about this research is just how soon information about whether a viable embryo will develop is available. They can make a call as early as the four-cell stage. What’s also striking about this research: “Two-thirds of all human embryos fail to develop successfully.”

Yesterday it was announced that the inventor of IVF has won the Nobel Prize.

A friend who went through years of IVF treatments before finally getting pregnant (without IVF) commented on Facebook: “So ambivalent about this. 4 million babies born–miraculous, truly. But 8 million more couples who spent their life savings for nothing in an entirely unregulated industry–not so good (basing calculation on 30% success rate, which is generous).

Maybe this new technology can boost the IVF success rate and save a lot of people a lot of money and a lot of heartache.

photo: gniliep/flickr


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