by Michael Johns
, Project Manager | July 14, 2006
This genomic testing process focuses on the measurement of a genetic marker called Human Leukocyte Antigen-G (HLA-G) released by the 2-day-old embryo in the media in which it is developing.
This research was published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility as well as the medical journal Human Reproduction and will be presented at an international conference in Europe later this year.
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Another process for testing the DNA of an egg prior to fertilization is nearing the final stage of investigation and promises to be even more predictive of egg/embryo "competence." The researchers, working in collaboration with a team of Japanese scientists have applied this method to improve the ability to successfully freeze human eggs without causing a large reduction in the thawed egg's ability to subsequently fertilize and produce embryos.
"Previous methods for selecting the best quality embryos for transfer to the uterus relied mainly on visual assessment of individual embryos by microscope," said Dr. Sher. "Those types of evaluations are severely limited in their ability to provide any strong indication of subsequent normal embryonic and fetal development."
Because of the limitations of current embryo assessment methods, there has been a tendency among many IVF practitioners to transfer more, rather than fewer embryos to the patient's uterus in the hope of improving the chances of pregnancy. This in turn has led to a high rate of high-order multiple pregnancies (triplets or more) with inherent long-term or even life-endangering risks to both mother and children. "The explosion in the rate of higher order pregnancies as a result of IVF has created an enormous burden on the health care system," explains Dr. Sher. "This is the primary reason why most insurance companies don't currently cover IVF."
"The advantage of this new methodology is twofold," states Dr. Braverman. "First, it dramatically increases the chances of success with IVF. Second, by allowing us to select the best embryos to transfer, we can reduce the total number of embryos transferred and thereby reduce the incidence of triplet pregnancies or greater."
The Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM) are a network of independently owned IVF centers and satellite offices that operate under a shared set of practice standards and centralized management systems. SIRM(SM) founder, Dr. Geoffrey Sher, established the country's first private IVF practice in 1982. SIRM(SM) physicians have been influential in the development of numerous breakthroughs in the field of reproductive care over the past 23 years. SIRM(SM) offices are located in Long Island, Manhattan, and Westchester, New York; Bedminster and Monmouth County, New Jersey; St. Louis, Missouri; Los Angeles, Orange County, Chino Hills, West Hills, Sacramento, and Pleasanton, California; Dallas, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada, and Peoria, Illinois.