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Times of India
04 August2010
Mumbai, India

New Machine To Help Decide On Best Embryo, Will Rule Out Need For Multiple Transfers
Childless couples can pick & choose
If IVF, then expect twins or triplets: this has been the rough rule in the world of testtube babies in India since infertility experts transfer at least three embryos (born in petri–dish in a laboratory) to any woman undergoing in–vitro fertilisation treatment.

But a city hospital’s new acquisition–unveiled by chief minister Ashok Chavan on Tuesday–claims to reduce these multiple transfers and thereby reduce the tension for to–be parents.“We have acquired the only fifth machine in the world and the first in Asia, called Viametrics, to improve embryo selection and thus improve pregnancy rates,” said Dr Hrishikesh Pai of Bloom IVF Centre, which is located in Lilavati Hospital, Bandra Reclamation.

In short, Pai and his colleague Dr Nandita Palshetkar feel that they will no longer need to transfer three embryos into a woman’s womb in order to boost the chances of pregnancy.“The new machine will scan an embryo along with some culture using the CV Raman effect and decide on whether it is best. While in the past we would do an embryo biopsy to establish how good it is, the new method will allow a non–invasive decision,” they said.

When the world’s first test–tube baby was born almost 32 years ago, the chances of infertile couples having a baby was 2%. Now, several inventions later, the chances for a woman younger than 35 years are as high as 40%.

According to Palshetkar,“Putting in three embryos could result in multiple pregnancies, higher medical bills and maybe even NICU care for the newborns. But our new machine could help cut down these issues.”

The duo quotes a Swedish study of 4,000 embryo transfers that showed the new technology had over 74% chances of success. Pai is confident that the method would be best used for couples who come for second IVF cycle.“They already have a baby and don’t want twins or triplets. It could also be useful for patients who have recurrent failure. An analysis could help decide whether the couple need egg donation or surrogacy,” said Pai.

However, not all infertility experts are impressed. One doctor said that the new method would only increase the bill by Rs 20,000 or more. Dr Gautam Allahabadia of Rotunda Clinic in Bandra said,“Viametrics is still in the experimental phase and not yet considered a part of the mainstream medicine. The moot point is that can this expensive machine guarantee an assured pregnancy?”

An infertility specialist who didn’t want to be named pointed out that the chances of multiple pregnancy in a three–embryo transfer is 5%.“Many patients in India who need to be cost–sensitive may be willing to take this chance,” the doctor said.

Colaba–based expert Dr Anjali Malpani said,“The technology does sound wow but one must remember that an embryo has to be genetically healthy to get implanted. This technology will provide a physiological analysis of the embryo.”

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