Scientists have discovered a new way of determine whether an embryo is likely to develop and lead to pregnancy before it is transferred back into a woman's womb during in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
University College Dublin researchers, reporting in the journal Fertility and Sterility, have found the fluid in a woman's ovaries that surrounds the egg holds information that can help doctors predict which embryos are more likely to lead to successful pregnancies.
"We analyzed samples of the follicular fluid surrounding the immature ovum or egg before it was retrieved for IVF," said lead researcher Dr. Lorraine Brennan. "We identified clear metabolic differences between the follicular fluids from women who successfully achieved pregnancy as a result of IVF to the fluids from the women who did not."
Fewer than one-third of all IVF attempts result in pregnancy, so doctors typically transfer multiple embryos back into the womb to increase the potential success rate. But this can lead to complications and increase the odds of multiple births like twins and triplets.
The new research, which involved almost 60 IVF patients, could provide a new way to boost pregnancy predictions which could lead to more use of single-embryo transfers.
The study was conducted by a team of scientists from University College Dublin, Ireland, and the Merrion Fertility Clinic.