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Video May Help Predict Which Embryos Will Survive IVF
Date:10/4/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Using time-lapsed video to watch fertilized eggs grow may offer clues about which embryos have the best chances of resulting in pregnancy when using in vitro fertilization, Stanford researchers report.

Under current techniques, embryologists look for certain physical characteristics of the embryos at about Day 3 to decide which embryos are thriving and should be placed in the woman's uterus. That procedure usually occurs at around Day 5, when the embryo has reached the blastocyst stage, considered a critical stage of development that ups the chances of pregnancy.

However, research suggests that embryos grown outside of the mother's body may be susceptible to changes in gene expression that may raise the risk of some long-term health problems, said senior study author Renee Reijo Pera, director of the Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education at Stanford's Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif.

The new technique, which uses imaging technology and a computer algorithm to observe and analyze the growth of embryos during the entire first three days, could help IVF practitioners choose the best embryos sooner, Pera said.

Being able to better predict which embryos will survive could ease the pressure on couples and their doctors to implant multiple embryos that can result in twins, triplets and higher order multiples, Pera said.

According to the study, the timing with which the embryo divides from one cell into multiple cells during the first three days can predict with 93 percent certainty which embryos will make it to the blastocyst stage, which indicates a healthy embryo.

The study is published in the Oct. 3 online issue of Nature Biotechnology.

With in vitro fertilization, the sperm and egg are joined outside the womb to form an embryo. Typically, I
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