07 February 2011
ByAppeared in BioNews 594
The first UK baby to have been conceived following a new IVF screening technique was born in December. Baby Elliott's parents tried to conceive for a decade before they received the combined genetic and embryo screening. Early results using this combined method suggest it increases the chances of a viable IVF pregnancy from 30 to 70 percent.
The combined method uses a screening technique called array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to check an IVF embryo has the correct number of chromosomes before transfer to the mother's womb. Chromosomal faults can cause miscarriages and IVF cycles to fail.
The array CGH results were cross-checked against DNA samples from Elliott's parents - a genetic screening technique called 'parental support'. This allowed doctors to see whether embryo abnormalities came from the mother or the father.
'Parental support' identified chromosomal abnormalities not identified by array CGH alone, said Dr Mark Sedler, consultant fertility specialist at the Care Fertility Centre in Manchester, which performed the technique. He added: 'This has never been done before. It can tell us whether the abnormality comes from the mother, from the father, or from both'.
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) is currently considering launching a pan-European trial to assess the evidence for the combined technique.