IVF technique 'doubles chance of having a baby'

Ability to detect egg abnormalities will reduce risk of miscarriage, say scientists

Women undergoing fertility treatment could more than double their chances of having a baby with a new technique for detecting chromosome abnormalities in their eggs, scientists said yesterday.

The procedure – developed in Britain – has already enabled a 41-year-old woman with a history of miscarriages and failed IVF attempts to become pregnant with her first child. A leading fertility specialist said it was a fast and accurate method of detecting changes to the 23 chromosomes within the human egg that are implicated in miscarriages and birth defects.

"We are likely to reduce the number of miscarriages, increase the number of implantations into the womb and increase the number of live births with this technology," said Simon Fishel, managing director of Care Fertility, an IVF centre in Sheffield. "We now have a technology that can examine all chromosomes from either an egg or an embryo."

About half of the eggs produced by women carry chromosome abnormalities that can affect the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby. For women aged 40 or more, this rises to 75 per cent of eggs.

Dr Fishel and colleagues used the test on nine eggs extracted from the 41-year-old woman, who had previously undergone 13 cycles of failed IVF treatment. Even without her history of failed IVF attempts, the woman's chances of having a baby would be less than 7 per cent, he said. The new chromosome test showed that just two of her nine eggs were normal. These were subsequently implanted into her womb after being fertilised and she is now more than six months pregnant with a single child.

The technique, which costs £1,950 and is not offered on the NHS, involves extracting the "spare set" of chromosomes ejected from the egg in a structure called the polar body. Scientists then extract the polar body's DNA and test it for chromosome changes without any interference to the DNA of the egg itself, Dr Fishel said. Only eggs that prove to have a normal complement of chromosomes are selected for implantation into the womb. This significantly cut the risk of failed implantation or miscarriage – a trial doubled implantation rates, Dr Fishel said.

The latest version of the test has been automated with the result that it takes no more than 48 hours to complete, so the IVF embryos do not need to be frozen before implantation.

However, the British Fertility Society said that further research and clinical trials were needed before the new test is offered widely to couples undergoing IVF treatment.

50 per cent: The proportion of eggs produced by women that carry chromosome abnormalities

75 per cent: The proportion with chromosome abnormalities for women over 40

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral