Examining the metabolism of embryos may help determine which ones offer the best chance of success with in vitro fertilization (IVF), a new study finds.
Currently, the process of selecting embryos for implantation in the mother's womb is highly subjective.
"It's a guessing game that can end in IVF failure or multiple pregnancies," Dr. Emre Seli, an associate professor in the obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences department at Yale School of Medicine, said in a school news release. "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."
Seli and colleagues have studied the metabolomic profiles of spent embryo cultures. A metabolomic profile is a unique chemical signature of the activity of embryos in culture.
The Yale team found that a viability score based on a noninvasive metabolomic assessment of embryo culture media affected pregnancy outcomes in women treated at four centers in Europe and Australia. The research, performed in collaboration with Molecular Biometrics Inc., was presented this week at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting, in Atlanta.
"These findings have important implications for the more than 125,000 IVF cycles performed yearly in the United States," Seli said. "The high multiple pregnancy rates associated with IVF have significant public health consequences, such as decreased survival and increased risk of lifelong disability associated with severe prematurity."