Thursday, December 25, 2008

Breakthrough IVF test to double baby chance for childless couples

A fertility test that doubles the chances of pregnancy offers new hope to childless couples.
The test helps identify the healthiest embryos for use in IVF treatment and could cut the risk of twins or triplets.

A trial involving couples
British experts are hoping to get permission from the fertility regulator here to offer it to women within the next few months.
Unlike most existing checks for a small number of abnormalities in embryos, the new CGH ( comparative genomic hybridisation) test examines the full complement of normal chromosomes.

The test is also more accurate because it can safely remove a greater number of cells from embryos for DNA testing before the healthiest ones are chosen. Findings from a trial at the Colorado Centre for Reproductive Medicine, near Denver, used results from women with hard-totreat infertility, where previous IVF attempts failed or ended in miscarriage.
They showed the chances of an embryo implanting in the womb were 62 per cent - more than double the 27 per cent rate expected.
Out of 23 women aged between 30 and 42 taking part in the trial, 18 conceived and their pregnancies passed the 12-week stage.
The predicted live birth rate is 78 per cent, which compares with an anticipated 62 per cent in this group.

Two have given birth and four more are expected to deliver their babies by the end of the year, according to data presented yesterday at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in San Francisco.

Dagan Wells, of the Reprogenetics UK Clinic and the University of Oxford, whose team analyses DNA extracted from embryos at the Colorado clinic, said the findings were 'dramatic'.
He is hoping to offer the technique to couples for around £2,000, in addition to the cost of IVF treatment.

He predicted its use would reduce the occasions when multiple embryos have to be implanted.
'The pregnancy rates we've got so far are absolutely phenomenal. We're ready to begin a trial in the UK,' he said.


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