A new test developed by Oxford scientists could tell couples within 24 hours if they will ever be able to have a baby through IVF and improve success rates.
Dr Dagan Wells from Oxford University, who led the research, said: “I think it offers the possibility of enhancing success rates of IVF, allowing couples to get to the point of having a baby more rapidly with fewer cycles, and avoiding the heartbreak of miscarriage or terminating a pregnancy because of serious disorders.
“It’s particularly troubling when you meet a couple who struggle for years with IVF to obtain a pregnancy that’s desperately longed-for, then finally they get one after all that time and expense and it miscarries because it’s chromosomally abnormal or has serious defects, and they face having to choose to terminate a pregnancy they really want. That’s an awful situation and this won’t entirely eliminate that but this kind of process will reduce that.”
It is hoped that detailed analysis of the embryo may identify potential defects before it is implanted in the womb.
It means that only those likely to succeed are implanted, speeding up the process and reducing the number that end in miscarriage or birth defects.
If the 24-hour tests show that a couple are unlikely ever to have a baby through IVF, it will also spare them the heartache of spending more time and money on further cycles.
It could one day mean that almost 100 per cent of normal IVF pregnancies lead to healthy babies. Currently only 70 per cent make it after basic genetic testing and developing for five days in the lab.
The novel technique is being taken seriously by the scientific community and the study that explains it has won a prize from the US Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies.
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