Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Embryo Screening Method Gives Parents Better Shot at Pregnancy

Science may be one step closer to providing the best start for babies conceived through in vitro fertilization. Researchers have developed a way to evaluate the full genetic make-up of an embryo before it is implanted in the womb.

"We believe the most limiting step in an embryo becoming a baby is whether is has the right genetic compliment -- whether it is the right total amount of material. So if we can diagnose that before we put the embryo back it should raise pregnancy rates," explained Dr. Richard Scott.

By identifying which embryos are likely to succeed, researchers believe miscarriage will be less likely. They say identifying the healthiest embryo may also eliminate the need to implant several embryos.

"By putting fewer embryos back you have fewer twins and that should greatly reduce the risk for prematurity to couples that have a tough time conceiving," said. Dr. Scott.

Here's how it works:

First a cell is taken from the embryo. Then the DNA is amplified a million fold so that it can be analyzed. The data then allows researchers to determine the number of chromosomes on that single cell.

"Now we can look at all 23 where previously we could only look at less than half of the chromosomes," explained researcher Dr. Nathan Treff.

This technology won't be available for some time, but will help couples using IVF in the future avoid problems.


No comments: