A new technique that may increase the success rate and reduction in cost of IVF procedure

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner 



Respite appears on the way for couple having challenges with fertility going by the recent publication of the work of researchers from Taiwan who invented a new technique which could bring about more effective, cheaper and affordable in vitro fertilization. The finding was published by the Journal of Biomicrofluidics.

Infertility has remained a big reproductive health issue across the world. Advances in reproductive management have shown that about 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with standard therapies, such as medication or surgery while others will benefit immensely from in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one of the assisted reproductive technologies (ART) involving a process of eggs collection with the aim of fertilizing them with sperm in the incubator to create embryos to be transferred to a woman’s uterus.

IVF has recorded significant success with about 50 percent procedures leading to live births in 2013; however, there have also been some setbacks.

It is no longer news that IVF procedure is an expensive medical treatment with couples facing fertility crisis needing multiple cycles in order to have a successful pregnancy. Not only is the IVF cycles costly, but it is also emotionally disturbing.

In an attempt at enhancing the success rates and reducing the cost of IVF, researchers from National Tsing Hua University and the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan invented a new technique for this purpose.

The team says the new technique enable each individual embryo to be assessed before being transferred into the uterus implying that only the ones with highest possibility of success are used.

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The team developed a “microwell system” which was tested using mouse embryos. The embryos were placed on a dish of tiny open microwells before being covered with a layer of oil with the aim of preventing the embryos from moving from one microwell to the other.

They further explain that the microwell system provides each embryo its own environment, allowing for easy assessment of the viability of each embryo. The team also found that after using high-resolution time-lapse imaging to observe the development of each embryo, the embryos successfully developed into blastocysts. The team was also able to predict the embryo’s likelihood of developing into blastocysts by the duration it took for them to successfully reach the 4-cell and 8-cell stages in the microwells, allowing early-stage embryos to be screened and the most promising ones to be chosen for transfer.

The researchers look forward to a no distant future when their newly developed technique would be used in humans. The team notes the need to optimize and clinically validate the experimental conditions in human embryos. Chen and colleagues conclude as follows: “it will lower the stress level of patients greatly if the number of IVF cycles and embryos transferred can be reduced while maintaining a promising outcome”.

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