New IVF test trebles chance of healthy baby

October 27th, 2010 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 27 (IANS) An in vitro fertilisation (IVF) test that trebles a woman’s chances of having a healthy baby has been developed by scientists.

IVF is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by the sperm outside the body.

The new technique could spare thousands of couples the heartache of miscarriage as well as remove the risk of Down’s syndrome that children conceived by fertility treatment have, the Daily Mail reported.

Down’s syndrome is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops - both mentally and physically.

The technique involves taking a sample from embryos when they are five days old and checking each of their 23 pairs of chromosomes. Only the healthiest single embryo is implanted in the womb.

It also offers hope to those undergoing fertility treatment in their late 30s and early 40s, who often struggle to get pregnant and, once they do, are more likely to lose the baby.

The test developed by American researchers is called Chromosome Aneuploidy Screening. It has been so successful that experts believe it will be routinely available to women undergoing IVF within the next three years.

The screening checks embryos for chromosome abnormalities. Faulty ones are discarded, and only those which stand the best chance of developing into a healthy foetus are implanted back into the womb.

Trials have shown that up to 88 percent of women receiving tested embryos give birth. The test was unveiled at American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Denver, Colorado, US.

This is more than treble the success rate of IVF - only between 20 and 30 percent of those undergoing treatment in Britain will have a baby.

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