A new light on diagnosing embryo health

Project Details

Description

The inability to conceive one’s own child places a tremendous burden on the parental unit and society as a whole. Affecting 15% of Australians, this stigmatised condition can lead to reduced productivity, financial hardship, relationship breakdown and mental illness. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is the leading method to address infertility. Whilst IVF has advanced over four decades, it still has a remarkably low success rate: only 18% of initiated cycles deliver a live birth. With this low success rate, a large proportion of the current $240M p.a. Medicare expenditure on IVF fails to achieve the birth of a healthy child. To alleviate this financial and emotional burden to society and the individual, there is a burgeoning requirement to improve the success of IVF.

All human life emanates from a single cell, developing into an embryo and ultimately a fetus. During the early days of life, errors frequently occur during cell division resulting in the emergence of aneuploid cells: cells with extra or missing chromosomes. Animal studies show that while a lower proportion of aneuploid cells in the embryo is tolerated, a higher proportion leads to an increased incidence of pregnancy loss. Thus, accurate determination of aneuploid cell proportions will aid in stratification of embryo quality and improve IVF success: achieving parenthood for more couples in fewer IVF cycles.

Despite this promise, current diagnostic strategies for aneuploidy assessment show no improvement in live-birth rate. We contend this is because they involve an invasive biopsy of cells that form the placenta and therefore offer no insight into aneuploidy within the fetal cell lineage. Further, transfer of biopsied embryos leads to a 3-fold increased risk of preeclampsia: a pregnancy complication with elevated risk of morbidity and mortality for mother and fetus and a life-time increased risk of cardiovascular disease6. We are poised to replace this test with an innovative technology that is both precise and does no harm.
AcronymAIIFUND79
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/07/2130/06/24

Keywords

  • Embryo Health
  • fertility problems
  • IVF

Flemish discipline codes

  • Foetal development