Revolutionary new non-invasive procedure uses intelligent imaging software to measure and predict with high accuracy which embryos will likely grow to the blastocyst stage (day 5-6), a critical milestone in embryo development.
For couples who find they are unable to conceive naturally, undergoing a cycle of IVF is often the next step on their path to parenthood, but with only one third of IVF cycles resulting in a live birth, and at a cost of around £5,000, the struggle to become parents, both emotionally and financially, can be a real nightmare.
Over the past 30 years, fertility researchers have worked tirelessly in an effort to identify which embryo(s) to implant that will ultimately result in a healthy live birth. Unfortunately, human reproduction is not an efficient process and only 15 percent of embryos transferred result in a pregnancy. To achieve high pregnancy rates, multiple embryos are transferred in each cycle to overcome the low implantation rate.
Until now a process known as embryo grading is used to visually determine the quality of embryos during development. Embryo grading is traditionally performed using microscopic observation at set times. This will usually occur once or twice a day so as to minimise the time embryos spend outside of the controlled environment of an incubator. The assessment is based on visual appearance of the embryos such as the number of cells, symmetry of cells and degree of cell fragments.
However, embryo grading by nature is subjective and is based on snap-shots of the embryo at selected times.
Once the embryos are graded and selected, the embryo or embryos are loaded in a soft catheter and transferred back into the womb, with embryos being able to be transferred at different stages of their development.
The future of IVF
However, a brand new non-invasive technology has just been launched in the UK, called Eeva (Early Embryo Viability Assessment) and has been designed by Auxogyn to significantly improve positive IVF outcomes by providing clinicians and their patients with objective information that will enable them to predict embryo viability at a higher level of accuracy than ever before. Using intelligent computer vision software, Eeva is able to analyse embryo development against scientifically and clinically validated cell-division parameters from video images and has the ability to then predict which embryos will most likely grow to the blastocyst stage, optimising the chances for a successful pregnancy.
Eeva consists of a special microscope that fits inside a standard incubator and takes video images of the embryos, which are analysed by proprietary, intelligent software. Cultured within a specially-designed petri dish, the embryos are monitored closely by Eeva over a certain period of time.
Science and Success
CRM London is the first fertility clinic in London to offer the Eeva Test to patients undergoing IVF, but Auxogyn have also announced that the Eeva Test will be made available to IVF patients at King’s College Hospital in London, and in the East of England through Bourn Hall Clinic. Outside of London, other clinics offering Eeva are the Hewitt Fertility Centre and GCRM in Liverpool and Glasgow respectively.
On the subject of IVF and its new advancement, Charles Kingsland, lead consultant at the Hewitt Fertility Centre said;
“At the Hewitt Fertility Centre, we are committed to doing everything we can, including adopting breakthrough technologies, to improve embryo selection in order to increase a patient’s success of pregnancy while reducing the risks associated with multiple births. By using Eeva, we will be able to help our patients make more informed personal decisions and provide them with the best care possible.”