As scientists find new ways to increase success rates the science around IVF is ever-evolving.
And Addenbrooke's fertility clinic Cambridge IVF, based in Trumpington, is introducing new technology in their laboratory that is likely to improve couples' chances of conceiving “Embryoscope timelapse technology”. It has been developed in Sweden and is being introduced in Cambridge following a number of studies assessing its benefits.
Consultant embryologist, said: “This is a really exciting development for people having IVF treatment. The Embryoscope is the market leading-product to allow uninterrupted culture of embryos in an incubator.
"This incubator contains a microscope meaning we can observe the embryos at any point during their development without having to remove them from their controlled environment.
“The Embryoscope records a time-lapse video of the developing embryo. Using this recording we can look for traits similar to those of known good-quality embryos so that we can refine our embryo selection process. This helps to ensure we maximise the chances of a pregnancy."
Use of this technology is beneficial to any patient undergoing IVF treatment but is particularly beneficial to older women and those who have had failed treatments in the past.
“Embryoscope incorporates technology that we believe will be beneficial to all patients but we believe older women and people who have had unsuccessful treatment previously will benefit the most," said Mr Harbottle.
“The technology not only allows us to identify strong embryos but also to select against embryos showing poor potential. At the time of transfer these poor embryos may appear perfectly healthy using standard IVF technology and could be selected for transfer. The enhanced Embryoscope timelapse data can minimise the chances of this happening."
The Embryoscope was created by Swedish company Vitrolife, responsible for a number of innovative solutions for IVF treatment. A number of studies have been conducted to assess the benefits of the scope with several randomised control trials reporting an uplift in clinical outcomes using time-lapse systems.
“The benefit to those having IVF treatment extends further than just the improved success rates. The technology affords us to sit down with patients after treatment and share the time-lapse videos with them at a medical review appointment to show them any patterns in their embryo development, which are of concern. We can also provide patients with a time-lapse video of the embryo or embryos they had transferred as a keepsake, something some people may appreciate."
“We're really excited about this development. We have already had our first couple sign up."