A new IVF advance that significantly increases the chances of having a baby through artificial reproduction could bring hope to infertile couples across the country, according to an article published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online.

A technology which records a series of images at regular intervals, known as time-lapse imaging, is now available for monitoring the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos before they’re implanted in the womb.

The first test tube baby was born in July 1978, in England. Since, then approximately 5 million babies have been born as a result of assisted reproduction technologies – namely IVF and ICSF.

This breakthrough could help triple the chances of a couple having a baby through IVF.

According to the abstract of the study, “Time-lapse imaging of human preimplantation IVF embryos has enabled objective algorithms based on novel observations of development (morphokinetics) to be used for clinical selection of embryos.”

The first baby to be born using this revolutionary in vitro fertilization technique is expected to be born in Scotland within the next few months.

Only 24 percent of IVF embryos which are implanted in women are born alive and well, according to data from UK public health authorities – figures in the rest of the developed world are fairly similar. The research team believe that the birth rate could shoot up to around 74 percent with this new imaging technique once they perfect it.

With this new technique, the authors were able to develop a way to successfully identify which embryos have a high risk of abnormal chromosomes, called “aneuploidy”. When embryos have this chromosome abnormality there is a much lower chance of implantation resulting in a healthy live birth.

The study, carried out by scientists from CARE Fertility, involved using time-lapse imaging among embryos from a total of 69 couples who underwent IVF. They wanted to determine whether the technique would help detect which embryos were more likely to result in a successful pregnancy and birth.

By identifying which embryos were at risk of aneuploidy using the time-lapse cameras, the researchers were able to choose which ones were best suited for implantation.

The researchers observed that the time-lapse technique resulted in a 61 percent successful live birth rate among the couples compared to only 39 percent for all embryos (at any risk level).

Using Time-Lapse Imaging As An Early Embryo Viability Test – Video

However, the NHS noted that this study “assessed the outcomes for only 69 couples who received care at one fertility service. Larger numbers of embryos would ideally need to be assessed to confirm the results. Ideally, prospective studies comparing this new technique with standard techniques would also be carried out.”

Last year, Australian IVF researchers discovered “that the greater the glucose intake the healthier the embryo”.

Written by Joseph Nordqvist