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Aurora magazine

New technique to aid IVF embryo selection

Guided by the University of Adelaide, ARC Center for Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics researchers (CNBP) have improved embryo selection in IVF. The merit is a new image diagnostic technique, which will help establish the quality of embryos in the early stages. The technique could greatly increase the likelihood of successful in vitro fertilization cycles.

The researchers used a particular type of image, showing differences in metabolism and chemical composition of embryos. The technique allows for an objective measurement of the conditions of the various embryos. In this way scientists can only choose the healthiest for the implant in the uterus.
Hyperspectral images measure the light that cells produce during their normal activities. Depending on the chemical or metabolic reactions in progress, the light changes. By measuring light, therefore, information on the conditions of embryonic metabolism is obtained.

Usually IVF embryo selection is performed using a normal microscope. This is often a subjective process, which tends to distinguish embryos with more success. The new technique, on the other hand, provides an objective measurement to follow for evaluation.

For the time being, scientists have tested technology only on cat embryos, but the results are very promising. It allows to analyze embryos in a non-invasive way, giving measurable information in real time. Nevertheless, they will still have to go several years before finding it in fertility clinics.