According to a new study, there might be a more effective way of approaching IVF treatments—and it just might up your odds of getting pregnant after your first round.
In vitro fertilization treatments are costly, painful, and emotionally exhausting—and they don’t always work the first time. That’s why a recent development could be a total game-changer: Researchers at the University of Adelaide have tested a new technique that can help IVF practitioners select the right embryos for implantation, which might in turn improve the treatment’s success rates.
The study, which was published in Molecular Reproduction and Development, looked at a process involving advanced digital imaging and mathematical modeling to evaluate the viability of each embryo before implantation.
According to Hannah Brown, Ph.D., the current selection process for embryos is limited. "There may be a number of embryos that look almost identical, and it's up to the embryologist to make a judgment call about which of them is best—that is, the most viable for a healthy pregnancy. That's a very difficult decision to make based on the little evidence available," Dr. Brown said in a press release. “We know that many women who go through IVF aren't successful on the first cycle. This can be emotionally traumatizing and often becomes a very costly exercise, depending on how many IVF cycles they go through.”
Dr. Brown and the other researchers considered two factors when examining embryos under this new technique: the quality of the embryos’ metabolisms and the possible DNA damage that could have taken place during its development. The digital imaging technique is one that’s currently used when diagnosing cancer cells.
Back in 2014, we reported that IVF has a 1 in 3 success rate – that’s not very promising for couples who are looking to conceive. We’ve seen plenty of new research to indicate that rates will improve with time. Could this be the thing that makes IVF treatments successful more often than not?
Researchers seem optimistic, but it could take a few years for this particular technique to replace the current approach. Though successful, the trials involved mouse embryos, so time will tell if this is a viable option for women seeking IVF treatments.
As of now, take comfort in the fact that plenty of IVF research is under way, and there’s good reason to believe that success rates associated with the treatment will improve.