Saturday, January 23

IVF breakthrough uses genetic fingerprint to tell if the treatment will succeed

IVF breakthrough uses genetic fingerprint to tell if the treatment will succeed

Expecting: Doctors may soon have a better chance of predicting the outcome of IVF
Doctors may be able to predict the chances of success of IVF treatment via a genetic “fingerprint” in the womb.

Prof Nick Macklon, medical director of Complete Fertility Centre Southampton, said the discovery of a genetic abnormality in the womb would help clinicians understand why IVF succeeds or fails in some women.

He said it could eventually lead to the development of a new test to help patients understand how likely they are to achieve a pregnancy before they embark on the treatment process.

It could also guide others on whether or not they should continue even after a number of unsuccessful cycles.

The development has the potential to revolutionise the success rate of fertility treatment, which currently stands at about 35% of IVF cycles resulting in a pregnancy.

IVF breakthrough uses genetic fingerprint to tell if the treatment will succeed

Tests: Scientists have been trying to work out why some IVF treatments fail
Some 50,000 women undergo IVF treatment in Britain every year.

Prof Macklon said: “Many women undergo a number of IVF cycles without success despite having good quality embryos.

“Up to now, it has been unclear whether or not the lining of the womb may be the cause of that.”

The team studied biopsies from the lining of the womb from 43 women with recurrent implantation failure and 72 women who gave birth after fertility treatment.

Prof Macklon said they found an “ abnormal gene expression” which “is always associated with failure”. But it was not present in the successful pregnancies.

“This is very significant in aiding our understanding of IVF failure,” he told the journal Scientific Reports.

IVF breakthrough uses genetic fingerprint to tell if the treatment will succeed

Improvement: The breakthrough could help doctors give better guidance to patients
Prof Frank Holstege, head of the genomics laboratory at University Medical Centre Utrecht, which carried out the study, said: “What this tells us is that a large proportion of women who suffer recurrent implantation failure may be infertile due to a problem with the receptivity of their uterus.

“Their chances of achieving successful pregnancy are likely to be very small and this information gives clinicians much more clarity in counselling patients as to the wisdom of investing further time, effort and money in ongoing treatment.

“At the same time, those patients who have undergone a number of unsuccessful cycles of IVF but do not have the genetic pattern could be advised to persist as they have a much better chance of achieving a pregnancy.”

Prof Macklon added: “While we believe this finding to be a very significant development in international fertility research, the next stage is to trial it as a clinical test to study its effectiveness on a wider scale.”

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