IVF: Breakthrough on the horizon

Academics from Oxford University are at the early stages of what may become a breakthrough in IVF technology. They have devised a technique which will allow an IVF specialist to gauge the health of an egg differently than the invasive techniques which are currently employed.

The new technique involves analysis of a “cloud” of cells which surrounds the egg. A new understanding suggests these cells can be a reliable indicator to assess health and quality of an egg. This would then provide better information to aid the decision when choosing between eggs.

The technique will help solve some of the chromosomal problems which are currently encountered in IVF therapy. The researchers suspect it will result in a greater rate of positive pregnancies given the number of IVF transfers. Also encouraging (and very topical at the moment) is the expectation that the new technology will lead to a reduction in the cost of IVF therapy.

To date, the researchers have only conducted a pilot study using very few subjects. They are planning to embark on a larger scale study in 2013.

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