New IVF system boosts fertility
By Gillian Tsoi
Newly-developed IVF equipment has improved the chance of fertility by 25%, according to doctors in the UK.
A system developed by a team of fertility experts at the Newcastle University could have major advantages for women facing difficulty conceiving.
The pioneering equipment involves a series of interlinked incubators that provide a totally enclosed and controlled environment within which every step of the IVF process may be conducted.
The new technique rules out the need for delicate embryos to be removed from incubators to check on their progress - a process that can damage them.
This new system was implemented at the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life (part of the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) and studied over a three-year period. It resulted in a 27% increase in pregnancy rate compared with conventional equipment used in IVF treatment labs.
Forty-five percent of embryos achieved a clinical pregnancy compared to 32% and 35% in each of the previous two years. A clinical pregnancy means that a heartbeat is detected on a scan at seven weeks gestation.
Since installing this new technology at the Newcastle facility more than 850 babies have been born.
Newcastle University's Professor Mary Herbert, said: "Our aim was to keep eggs and embryos in conditions similar to those they would experience naturally - inside a woman's body. This led our team to design and develop a system in which it is possible to perform all of the technical procedures while maintaining stable conditions throughout the IVF process."
Alison Murdoch, Professor of Reproductive Medicine, who leads the clinical service at Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, added: "Growing good embryos is the key to IVF success and everyone, even those who have a very small prospect of success, deserve to have the best possible chance. Since installing this new technology over 850 babies have now been born."
This is reported to be the first system of its kind in the UK; however, similar systems have already been exported to IVF clinics in the Netherlands, Canada and Thailand based on the equipment from the Newcastle team.
The research was published in the journal PLoS ONE.
[Posted: Thu 01/03/2012]