Described by Bloomberg News last week as the latest revolution in IVF treatments, the EmbryoScope time-lapse cinematography incubator will make its laboratory debut today at the IVF Center of Reproductive Associates of Delaware (RAD).
"With many other IVF centers around the world adopting and researching this technology we believe it is the right time to offer this new advance for our patients undergoing IVF," stated senior embryologist and RAD's Lab Services Director, Linda Morrison.
The EmbryoScope utilizes a sophisticated and noninvasive technique to frequently photograph a single embryo's development from unfertilized egg to the blastocyst stage over a 7 day period of time. The data from each embryo's cell division and appearance is further analyzed by MacIntosh-based image analysis software, which also creates a unique time-lapse video for each embryo.
"This technology strongly complements our commitment to single embryo transfer at the blastocyst stage," noted Dr. Ronald Feinberg, RAD's IVF Medical Director. "”The majority of our patients undergo single embryo transfer because it is the safest and most effective way to attain a healthy pregnancy through IVF. We are constantly searching for ways to improve pregnancy success rates while maintaining healthy outcomes for our patients. Based on data from other EmbryoScope users, we could theoretically improve our current embryo implantation rate from 60% to 90% for embryos that have both normal chromosomes and cell development."
The average embryo implantation rate in the U.S. is currently just 36% for women under age 35, based on 2011 published data from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). Several centers in the U.S., including RAD, have demonstrated that embryo implantation rates can be improved to 60% even for women over 35 if comprehensive chromosome testing called Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening or PGS is performed in advance of uterine transfer.
RAD plans to correlate PGS test results with EmbryoScope time-lapse data as a new approach for boosting IVF success with single embryo transfer.
"A 60% embryo implantation rate is about the highest reported right now with IVF, but we believe there is more key data we can learn about each embryo before uterine transfer that will improve this rate," noted Dr. Feinberg. "Other IVF centers have reported a 50% improvement in pregnancy rates with the use of the EmbryoScope, so the 90% implantation rate goal is possible at RAD. However, any enhancement of implantation rates with this new technology will provide safer, more cost-effective outcomes for our patients with family building goals."
Reproductive Associates of Delaware has 5 Board-certified reproductive endocrinology physicians on its staff, with daily patient services offered in Newark (on the main campus of Christiana Hospital), North Wilmington, and Dover. Working with Dr. Feinberg are Drs. Barbara McGuirk, George Kovalevsky, Adrienne Neithardt, and Emelia Bachman, who are also attending physicians and teaching faculty at Christiana Care Health System.