23 October 2009
A fast, non–invasive test to help assess embryo viability for IVF is being developed by researchers at Yale School of Medicine, led by Emre Seli, M.D. Such a test is needed because embryos that are most likely to result in a pregnancy are crucial to the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF) but are difficult to identify.
Seli, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, will present new embryo selection findings at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) meeting held in Atlanta, Georgia from October 17 to 21.
Women undergoing infertility treatment with IVF are hormonally stimulated to produce multiple eggs, which are then fertilized in the lab. In most cases, multiple embryos are generated and cultured. Selecting embryos for implantation is currently highly subjective.
“It’s a guessing game that can end in IVF failure or multiple pregnancies,” said Seli. “Our goal is to find a way to pinpoint the embryos with the best chance of success, so that we can transfer fewer embryos and cut down on the possibility of multiple pregnancies without reducing the pregnancy rate.”
To detect the difference between a viable and non–viable embryo, Seli and his team have studied the metabolomic profile of spent embryo cultures. A metabolomic profile is the unique chemical fingerprint that results from the metabolic activity of embryos in culture. The team previously found that metabolomic profiling could give an instant snapshot of the physiology of a cell. This non–invasive approach may provide a useful adjunct to the current embryo grading systems based on the structure of the embryo and the rate at which the embryo divides.