A Test for Viable IVF Embryos

Over 40,000 IVF procedures are carried out every year in Israel. Recently, a new test developed could potentially boost success rates to over 80%. MitoGrade determines which embryos are viable by measuring the levels of abnormal mitochondrial DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA in IVFMitochondrial DNA test for viable embryos

The research broadly focused on the mitochondria - the main component of the cell that provides energy for cellular functions, it also plays an important role in the development of the embryo. Mitochondria also contain their own DNA (mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA). Scientists from the University of Oxford discovered that a high amount of mtDNA in embryos could reduce the chances of pregnancy - The researchers found that a quarter to a third of embryos contain a greater quantity of mtDNA, which ultimately result in a loss of pregnancy due to the inability of the embryo to implant. In addition, researchers found that levels of mtDNA increase with age.

Testing for Viable Embryos

Couples face many emotional, physical and financial aspects during the course of one or multiple unsuccessful cycles. IVF cycles currently stands at around a 35% success rate, this revolutionary test has great potential and could hugely benefit couples undergoing infertility treatment, giving them added assurance. The test could potentially minimize the long (and at times) demanding IVF cycle that couples face; in particular, experts will be able to determine the viability of the embryo. In addition, women will not have to undergo several embryo transfers until the “right” one results in a pregnancy.

The MitoGrade test is done following fertilization in the IVF procedure, during the blastocyst stage of the embryo (around five-day old embryos); a few cells are removed to assess mtDNA levels. Embryos that meet the optimum threshold of mtDNA are implanted to the uterus, while the others are discarded – this ensures a successful full term pregnancy.

Further trials (ongoing) in the US with IVF using MitoGrade show increased pregnancy rates by another 10%; experts estimate its huge potential predicting 70-80% success rates in IVF. MitoGrade could become available for couples in as little as a year in the UK. The researchers from oxford are now trying to evaluate the reason for high levels of mtDNA in embryos, as well as the mystery behind the inability of a third of embryos to implant. This phenomenal research conducted by the Oxford team has been shortlisted to win a prize held at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) conference.

Herzliya Medical Center is one of the top centers of IVF in the world, known for its advanced laboratory equipment, professional and experienced staff and the latest treatment protocols in male and female infertility. We aim to bring our patients that positive result that they have been waiting for, the gift of life. Couples receive comprehensive treatment and support throughout. Let us make your dream a reality.

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