Scientists at OxfordUniversity are developing a test that could dramatically improve the success rates of IVF treatment. The test not only checks for chromosome abnormality which is a major cause of IVF failures, but also two new markers that could be the cause of implantation failures. These two markers are “telomeres” which appear on chromosomes and are linked to healthy cells, and “mitochondria” which is the power houses of every cell.
The technique was reported recently at the annual conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Orlando for which it was awarded a prestigious prize.
Currently the worldwide IVF success rate is 30% and every effort is being made to improve it to much higher levels. Even though this new technique has been hailed as something that could help IVF achieve a success rate approaching 100% in a single attempt, I believe that this is highly unlikely as a successful pregnancy is not down to the embryo alone, as there are many other factors that are responsible for IVF failures, not least are problems with the womb itself. Poor endometrial lining and abnormality in the configuration of the womb itself are common problems that we see literally every day in any IVF clinic and these will not be addressed by this technique.
One hears about new techniques all the time and their wonderful benefits only to have one’s hope dashed further down the line and hopefully this will be the exception. I personally cannot help but be excited at the potential of this new test even though I know it will take many years of intensive research before it will become available to the general public.