Monday 12 July 2010
Now, a test to predict successful pregnancy
Scientists have developed a new test to predict which of a woman's eggs are likely to lead to a successful pregnancy.
At present, the only way of deciding which eggs to use in the IVF (In-vitro Fertilisation) process is to examine them through a microscope. This gives doctors little chance of picking up the kind of abnormalities that cause the procedure to fail.
In the ground-breaking trial, conducted by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, the test accurately predicted whether a woman's egg was normal in 90 percent of cases.
The procedure involves removing waste cells, known as polar bodies, from the egg, which are produced shortly before and after fertilisation, to see if they have the correct number of chromosomes.
If the polar bodies have the correct number, so does the egg and this improves the chance of implanting in the womb and creating a successful pregnancy.
Scientists at the University of Bonn and the Sismer centre in Bologna tested polar bodies from 226 fertilised eggs from 41 women. Only one in four eggs from this group of women was normal.
The test can be completed within 12 to 13 hours, meaning it can fit into a normal cycle of IVF.