The future of selecting successful IVF embryos

Just when you thought technology couldn’t advance much further, you find out that artificial intelligence (AI) does a better job at picking successful IVF embryos than scientists. 

Well, according to a recent article in The Independent, it’s quite true. The online news item reports on fresh research which shows that “AI was found to be more accurate than embryologists at pinpointing which embryos had the potential to result in the birth of a healthy baby”.

The Independent confirms that scientists are using AI to “help predict” the embryos that are going to provide IVF success.   

Sao Paulo State University specialists in Brazil and Boston Place Clinic experts in London have worked together with Dr Cristina Hickman, scientific adviser to the British Fertility Society, to develop this astonishing technology.

It is their belief that this practise could help improve the way patients are cared for so that they can achieve pregnancy faster.

AI can inexpensively identify and compute 24 image characteristics of embryos that the human eye cannot see. And what’s more, a piece of software that was “trained” in identifying the look of a good embryo from a series of images is set to “learn” more as work is currently underway to go back over images from parents who were genetically screened and became pregnant.

Director of the Boston Place Clinic, Stuart Lavery said that he doesn’t think the technology will replace scrutinising chromosomes in detail, thought to be the key to determining “normal” or “abnormal” embryos.

Instead, he feels it will be “complimentary” to genetic screening.

He explained: “Looking at chromosomes does work, but it is expensive and it is invasive to the embryo” and reassuringly went on to say: “What we have found is that the technique is much more consistent than an embryologist, it is more reliable.”

It is hoped that the system will be available in clinics soon.


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