Eeva, the revolutionary new non-invasive test that uses intelligent software to help embryologists select which embryos will grow is now available throughout the UK and Ireland. Here we talk to Dr. Chantal Simonis, Medical Director at Wessex Fertility who are among the first fertility clinics in the world to offer the Early Embryo Viability Assessment (Eeva) test.
Q: Please describe how embryo selection in normally performed in IVF clinics currently around the world?
A: Embryo selection has traditionally involved a subjective assessment by the embryologist. A grading system is used, whereby the embryos are observed at certain stages of development (day 2, 3 or 5) and are scored according to the number of cells they have, and whether these cells appear normal, or have excessive fragmentation. Some clinics may assess the embryos by taking a biopsy from either the egg of the early embryo – this allows the genetic components of the embryo to be assessed. However, the disadvantage of this invasive testing is that it may result in damage to the egg or embryo.
Q: What insights does Eeva provide to your team that is an improvement/benefit over not having Eeva?
A: The advantage of Eeva is that we are able to assess the various crucial stages of embryo development. If an embryo divides at appropriate time intervals, it is more likely to be a viable embryo – in other words an embryo with a higher chance of implanting. Our embryologists are able to use the traditional method of grading the embryo on day 3 of development, but in addition, they can use information from Eeva to increase the chance of selecting a high quality embryo.
Q: What first attracted to you to the Eeva technology and why is it such a breakthrough for the IVF field?
A: We were attracted to Eeva because it is a non-invasive way of selecting embryos for transfer. As it is non-invasive, it can safely be offered to most patients. The research undertaken at Stanford University has identified key factors during early embryo development that help predict which embryos will grow, and we wanted to utilize a technology that would not be harmful to the developing embryo.
Ultimately, our goal is to achieve higher pregnancy rates for our patients, and we believe that Eeva will further increase our high success rates. It’s a breakthrough for IVF in that we can continue to increase implantation rates, but without invasive, and very costly, procedures.
Q: How would you explain the benefits of Eeva to a patient and why should a they be interested in Eeva?
A: Patients would be interested in Eeva mainly to utilize a technology that would increase their pregnancy rates and give them the best possible chance of realising their parenting dreams. However, Eeva has another advantage in that it aids the selection of a single embryo for transfer, thereby reducing the risk of a multiple pregnancy.
Q: Is there an example of where Eeva helped provide insight that you wouldn’t otherwise have had?
A: It has been particularly useful to review the Eeva images on day 3, and compare the traditional methods of embryo assessment. On some occasions, an embryo may appear to have reached the right cell stage, – but reviewing the images has revealed that the embryo did not meet the cell division parameters at the correct time, and we have then not selected the embryo for transfer. We have continued to culture these embryos until day 5 and have found a high correlation with failed blastocyst formation in these embryos.
Q: How can your patients learn more about Eeva if they are interested in this procedure?
A: Wessex Fertility patients interested in Eeva can call us at 023 8070 6000 to learn more. We also have a dedicated page on our website (www.wessexfertility.com/eeva)
For more information about the technology behind Eeva, including the latest news and events please visit www.eevaivf.com
About Eeva: The new Eeva test is clinically proven to help embryologists better select viable embryos at an early stage. The test was developed based on research conducted at Stanford University, which discovered that correlations in early cell division timings and the underlying health of the embryo can help determine the viability of the embryo.
At the heart of Eeva is intelligent software that reliably and consistently assesses critical and subtle differences in early embryo development. This data helps IVF clinicians determine an embryo’s viability and select the embryos with the highest potential for transfer or freezing. Eeva is designed to safely identify which embryos are most likely to develop to blastocyst stage – a critical stage in embryo development that typically happens on Day 5 or 6. With access to this unique information, an IVF team can more accurately select the best embryo(s) for transfer which could improve pregnancy chances.
In a clinical study of 755 embryos, embryologists using Eeva in combination with their traditional methods were able to significantly improve their ability to correctly identify non-viable embryos (85% of the time when using Eeva vs. only 60% of the time when using traditional methods).
The Eeva Test is also available at CRM London, GCRM in Glasgow, Hewitt Fertility Centre in Liverpool, Sims IVF in Ireland and is coming soon to Bourn Hall in Cambridge.