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Could ovarian stimulation cause an increase in oocyte chromosome abnormalities?
Date:7/3/2011

Stockholm, Sweden: Ovarian stimulation undertaken by women of advanced maternal age (over 35 years) receiving fertility treatment may be disrupting the normal pattern of meiosis a critical process of chromosome duplication followed by two specialised cell divisions in the production of oocytes and sperm and leading to abnormalities of chromosome copy numbers (aneuploidy) that result in IVF failure, pregnancy loss or, more rarely, the birth of affected children with conditions such as Down's syndrome, which is caused by the inheritance of three copies of chromosome 21 (trisomy 21).

Researchers involved in ESHRE's polar body screening study (launched in 2009) will tell the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology today (Monday) that results from the study are leading to a new understanding about how such abnormalities are developing, and they believe that the ovarian stimulation a woman receives might be playing a part. Understanding the mechanisms involved could help older women who are trying to have a healthy baby with their own oocytes.

Professor Alan Handyside, Director of The London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics Centre, London, UK, and colleagues from eight countries undertook a proof of principle study of a novel method of screening polar bodies, small cells that are the by-product of oocyte development, using the new technology of microarray comparative genomic hybridisation (array CGH) in order to find whether this was a reliable method of analysing the chromosomal status of an oocyte. This is because many more chromosome copy number abnormalities arise in the oocyte than in sperm.

"In doing so, we obtained a lot of data at the individual chromosome and chromatid level," says Professor Joep Geraedts, co-ordinator of the ESHRE Task Force on preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). (A chromatid is one of the two identical copies of DNA making up a duplicated chromosome). "So w
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary.rice@riceconseil.eu
European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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