While the adoption and use of frozen embryos already boasts a healthy success rate (often higher than that of fresh embryos during IVF treatments), a new FDA-approved test could boost that rate even higher. The director of the Stanford University In Vitro Fertilization Laboratory, Barry Behr, created the Early Embryo Viability Assessment (EEVA) that will help doctors scan embryos created in a lab to help determine which ones are the most viable for transfer.
EEVA will help eliminate subjective opinions of doctors concerning which embryos appear to be the most viable. Without the test, viability was solely based on the opinion of whoever was looking through the microscope. Embryos were examined for rapid and even division, a likely indication of a healthy developing embryo. Instead, EEVA uses time-lapse cameras to watch the development of a fertilized human egg as it develops through the blastocyst stage. The camera takes one picture every 5 minutes for 48 hours, then the data collected is filtered through a special algorithm to give the embryo a grade. Embryos with a higher grade will, in theory, have a better chance of becoming a healthy baby.
The EEVA test has two goals: help eliminate the need to transfer multiple embryos during IVF or frozen embryo transfer and increase the chances of success at a healthy pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby. Unfortunately, this test isn’t a guarantee for pregnancy or a healthy baby. It does, however, give some hope to couples struggling with infertility that their chances of having a baby are getting better and better. If you’d like to learn more about the success rates of embryo adoption, visit www.embryoadoption.org.
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