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New IVF Technology Available in North America
Genesis Fertility Centre, a Vancouver, B.C., fertility clinic, is the first clinic in Canada and North America to commercially offer a new patented technology for use with in vitro fertilization (IVF). The Early Embryo Viability TestTM (Eeva) uses proprietary software that provides information to help select the right embryos for implantation.
Eeva utilizes a computerized algorithm to analyze and interpret time-lapse technology and, in conjunction with the embryologist, to determine which embryos have the highest or lowest potential of implantation, according to Dr. Sonya Kashyap, Medical Direcor of Genesis Fertility Centre. “Results of a blinded study showed that patients with one or more Eeva High embryos transferred on day 5 achieved higher implantation and pregnancy rates than those with only Eeva Low embryos transferred,” Kashyap says.
Eeva is an option for anybody who wants to go through a fresh embryo transfer and will have at least one embryo in surplus, according to Kashyap. “If you only have two embryos it doesn’t make sense, you’re just going to transfer both. But if you have three embryos and you’re going to transfer two, it helps you pick the best two embryos to transfer. It tells you which one is most likely to be healthy and it doesn’t matter if it’s day 3 or day 5.”
Comprehensive chromosome screening and PGD, on the other hand, screen embryos for chromosomal abnormalities. With genetic screening you need day 5 embryos and Kashyap contends that in order for it to be cost effective you need to have five or six embryos: if you only have one or two, you transfer them; if you have three or four embryos, you transfer one or two and freeze the others. “It doesn’t make sense to spend all that money on PGD if you have fewer than that,” she says. “[Genetic screening] will tell you with 98% certainty whether or not the embryo is chromosomally normal. It is definitive, but it’s not an option for everybody,” she adds.
While Eeva won’t tell you if the embryo is 100% chromosomally normal, it will tell you which embryo in the group is the best, and unlike PGD, Eeva is not invasive. “It’s useful as long as you have one embryo in surplus of what you’re going to transfer,” she adds.
Eeva will add $1,500 to the IVF cycle at Genesis. “If you can improve embryo selection, improve the success rate from one cycle, improve single embryo transfer as a result, improve the chances for a healthy pregnancy it becomes cost effective, assuming you’re going to do a transfer in a fresh cycle,” Kashyap says.“The most important things to us are patient experience and success rates. If EEVA can help us increase pregnancy rates by one, two, three or even five percent, for fertility patients that’s huge,” she adds.
Eeva is available for the first time commercially in North America at Genesis Fertility Centre. Prior it has been available commercially in Europe (UK, Ireland, Spain) and through clinical trials. It is FDA-pending in the U.S.