New way to genetically screen embryos

Great news for would-be parents planning on undergoing IVF treatment! Extensive IVF studies have revealed a new way to genetically screen embryos, which will greatly enhance and improve the selection of embryos to be transplanted. To keep the medical mumbo jumbo to an understandable minimum, we will take a look at how these advances in the field can benefit couples who really wish to conceive.

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In the very recent past, abnormal chromosomes were one of the biggest contributing factors that prevented IVF treatment from having a high success rate. Roughly 70% of transplanted embryos were unable to develop normally, making it impossible to carry the pregnancy to term.

Unlike other mammals, chromosomal abnormalities are ten times greater in humans for reasons yet unknown. Naturally as a result, as the abnormalities increase, the chances of successful implementation decrease exponentially. Carrying a healthy baby through in-vitro fertilization depends on a series of weighing factors, including choosing the healthiest sperm and egg to result in the healthiest embryo, and looking at the surface, this was extremely difficult in the last few years. Now, researchers have started to probe much deeper.

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This new technique is called “next generation sequencing”, and can double the success rate, while decreasing the risk of miscarriage by half. Thanks to IVF studies, DNA machines are used to decipher the millions of DNA strands found in a single cell of a five day-old embryo. This method reveals any abnormalities and where parts of the chromosomes are completely missing. Next generation sequencing allows doctors to detect these abnormalities in advance and choose the healthiest embryos with a strong chance for survival.

Find out about studies in China, America and the UK on the next page…