New Chromosomal Screening Test Improves the Chance of IVF Success

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Our guest doctor on the Acubalance Blog  is Dr. Gary Nakhuda MD, FACOG from Olive Fertility Clinic on the latest in IVF technology to screen embryos before transferring them into the uterus to increase both pregnancy rates and health of the baby.  We are excited to have this new technology in British Columbia to combine with the Acubalance healthy baby approach.

New Chromosomal Screening Test Improves the Chance of IVF Success

Blog Post by Dr. Gary Nakhuda

A new test called Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening (CCS) can provide pregnancy rates of up to75% even in high risk IVF patients. This type of genetic screening is available for anyone undergoing IVF but it is particularly beneficial if you:

  • Are 35 years of age or older
  • Have had recurrent pregnancy losses without an identifiable cause
  • Have had previously failed IVF cycles

The test involves screening for the amount of chromosome material in the embryo and choosing the healthiest embryo(s) with the correct amount of chromosomal material.

 

WHAT ARE THE ADVANAGES OF CCS OVER TRADITIONAL IVF?

With CCS:

  • The pregnancy rate may be as high as 75%, regardless of maternal age
  • The miscarriage rate is as low as 5%.
  • The risks of chromosomal problems such as Down's syndrome are virtually eliminated as the diagnostic accuracy of CCS is about 99%

 

WHAT IS THE REASON FOR IVF FAILURE?

In most cases the reason for IVF failure is the result of chromosome abnormalities in the embryo. Chromosomes are the structures within our cells that contain our DNA, and humans are expected to have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Many embryos have too few or too many chromosomes, a condition known as aneuploidy. An aneuploid embryo will: 1) never implant in the uterus, 2) result in a miscarriage, or 3) result in a baby with conditions such as Down's syndrome.

Research shows that about 80% of chromosomal problems arise from the egg, 10% from the sperm, and 10% from post-fertilization errors.

 

HOW DOES CCS HELP IDENTIFY A HEALTHY EMBRYO?

Until very recently we have only been able to evaluate or "grade” an embryo based on appearance. But this method of grading can only identify a normal embryo about 50% of the time since an embryo's appearance tells us nothing about the number of chromosomes it contains. With CCS, we can now determine if an embryo that appears healthy is in fact chromosomally normal (aka euploid).

 

WHAT DOES CCS INVOLVE?

With CCS, an egg is fertilized in the laboratory and the embryo is grown for 5 days to the blastocyst stage at which point 5-10 cells are biopsied from the part of the embryo that will form the placenta (thus leaving the cells that are destined to become the fetus untouched). The embryo is then frozen and the biopsied cells are sent to a specialized laboratory for testing. The results usually return in less than 5 days identifying which embryos are chromosomally normal. This healthy embryo can be transferred in the next menstrual cycle.

 

CAN CCS HARM THE EMBRYOS?

Concerns about damage to the embryos from the process are common, but the results are reassuring. Over 95% of embryos survive the biopsy procedure. In addition, evidence is mounting that pregnancy rates of vitrified (frozen) five day old embryos are actually higher than of those transferred "fresh". Of course, it’s critically important that laboratory is staffed with highly trained and experienced embryologists.

 

IS THERE A DOWNSIDE TO CCS?

The biggest potential disappointment with CCS is there is a chance that none of the embryos will be normal. The risk for this increases with a woman’s age. For example, for women under 35, a blastocyst that looks healthy will be chromosomally normal about 65% of the time. However, at over 42 years old, an identically appearing blastocyst will be normal less than 15% of the time.

CCS adds about $4000 onto the price of an IVF cycle. Many women and couples feel that, despite the added upfront costs, CCS may actually improve the cost effectiveness of IVF by reducing the number of failed transfers, miscarriages, and procedures related to unhealthy pregnancies. Also, instead of freezing all embryos that appear healthy, only those that are chromosomally normal will remain cryopreserved.

 

THE WAY OF THE FUTURE FOR IVF

As fertility specialist, we foresee a time in the near future where CCS is the standard of care for all IVF cycles. In time, the cost of the technology is expected to decline to make the process more accessible.

Talk to your doctor to discuss how you might benefit from CCS.

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To attend a workshop co-presented by Acubalance Wellness Centre and Olive IVF Fertility Centre on how to combine natural approaches and the latest in IVF technology (Chromosomal Screening) to increase your chances of IVF success and more importantly, a healthy baby then please click link to register and find out more details.

 

Getting Pregnant The Healthy Baby Approach.. Read blog

Click link to watch a 4 minute video on the integrative approach used by Acubalance and Olive Fertility Centre to oncrease the chances of healthy babies

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