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Research Reveals New Measure to Predict Embryo Implantation Potential

October 14 , 2013
by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM Press Release

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FERTILITY SOCIETIES
21st WORLD
CONGRESS ON FERTILITY AND STERILITY
AND THE  69th ANNUAL MEETING OF THE
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE

Research Reveals New Measure to Predict Embryo Implantation Potential

Boston, MA – Research presented today at the International Federation of Fertility Societies- American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting revealed a new technique which could be used to predict which embryos have the greatest potential to implant into a woman’s uterus and initiate a pregnancy.

Using a technique known as Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, the team from the University of Oxford and Reprogenetics measured the amount of mitochondrial DNA in embryos at the final stage of development prior to implantation (the blastocyst). Results revealed increased levels of mitochondrial DNA in the cells of embryos generated by women of advanced reproductive age (older than 38), as well as in embryos which were chromosomally abnormal. Moreover they found that blastocysts with excessive quantities of mitochondrial DNA were incapable of establishing a viable pregnancy, even if they had been shown to be chromosomally normal. This finding may help to explain why a significant number of chromosomally normal embryos fail to establish a viable pregnancy. Additionally, it could potentially lead to improvements in IVF by helping to reveal which of the embryos is most likely to produce a baby.

Mitochondria are often referred to as the “powerhouses” of cells, fulfilling most of the energy requirements. They are also involved in key cellular processes such as cell signaling, cell differentiation and apoptosis. The scientists undertaking the research offered the theory that high levels of mitochondrial DNA could be indicative of embryos under stress, and therefore unlikely to successfully implant.

“This is an elegant, innovative study that potentially has very important clinical implications. Our ability to understand, and predict, which in vitro embryos are capable of generating a viable pregnancy should  be enhanced by this work,” said Joe Leigh Simpson, MD, President of the International Federation of Fertility Societies.

O-3 Quantification of Mitochondrial DNA Predicts the Implantation Potential of Chromosomally Normal Embryos 
E. Fragouli et al
 

Representing more than 50 fertility societies from around the globe, the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) is the world’s principal international fertility organization. The IFFS was founded in 1951, and held its first congress in New York in 1953. The IFFS mission is to stimulate basic and clinical research, disseminate education and encourage superior clinical care of patients in infertility and reproductive medicine. Website:http://www.iffs-reproduction.org/

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, founded in 1944, is an organization of more than 7,000 physicians, researchers, nurses, technicians and other professionals dedicated to advancing knowledge and expertise in reproductive biology.  Affiliated societies include the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, the Society of Reproductive Surgeons and the Society of Reproductive Biologists and Technologists.


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