FFE Magazine

IVF parents get message of Hope

by FFE News Staff


 Researchers from China and America have just unlocked a new way of screening for defects in egg cells for in vitro fertilisation (IVF), doubling the chances of parents to have healthy babies.


The method uses whole-genome sequencing of each egg cell, where DNA sequences associated with genetic disorders are checked and chromosome abnormalities are screened. This leads to an accurate, safe and cheap way to detect genetically normal embryos.


Director of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Peking University and study author Jie Qiao said ‘In this way, we kill two birds with one stone: one set of deep sequencing analysis to avoid two types of genetic problems.


‘Theoretically, if this works perfectly, we will be able to double the success rate of test tube baby technology from 30% to 60% or even more.’


In in vitro fertilisation, an egg cell from a woman and a sperm cell from a man are fertilised in ‘test tube.’ The embryo is then implanted in the uterus. Modern ways of screening embryos for defects are incomplete and carry risks. Qiao’s team was able to overcome this problem by sequencing the genetic code of ‘polar bodies’ or cells that are related to the egg cell but whose removal do not pose a risk.


Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University and co-author Sunney Xie said that if clinical trials work then this new technique ‘could enormously increase the success rate of IVF, especially for older women or women who have had recurrent miscarriages.’





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