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Happy Birth Day — Breakthrough IVF Procedure Offers New Hope,  Dec 14, 2010
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According to 2004 research published in Fertility and Sterility Journal, more than 50 percent of babies born to couples who underwent IVF were from a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets or higher).

Richard Scott, scientific director at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ), with an office in Eatontown, explains why.

"The fact is, as women age, the quality of their eggs declines, which increases the likelihood of fertility issues and birth defects the older she gets,'' Scott says. This reality has led doctors who specialize in IVF — in which a woman's egg and a man's sperm are extracted, combined under optimal clinical and timing conditions to create pregnancy and then placed in the woman's uterus — to "hedge their bets'' by replacing two to four embryos back into a woman to increase the chances that one will work. This can lead to multiple births — and associated health risks to mother and children — if more than one embryo implants.

Armed with a goal of "one embryo, one healthy baby,'' Scott has played a lead role in developing an award-winning procedure that assesses reproductive competency to better predict which embryo will most likely produce one healthy baby.

Winner of the 2010 General Program Prize from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, RMANJ's 2009-10 study involved between 80 and 100 infertile couples from New Jersey who were seeking IVF. The control group underwent routine care and typical screening methods, while the study group underwent comprehensive chromosomal screening, which involved biopsy on the fifth day from only a placental portion of the embryo (avoiding potential damage to the embryo).

The biopsy analysis enabled the separation of genetically normal embryos from abnormal ones prior to placement in the mother's uterus. At the conclusion, "clinical pregnancy rates in the study group were significantly higher, 92 percent, than those in the control group, 60 percent, and sustained implantation rates were much higher at 75 percent in the study group compared to 56 percent in the control group,'' Scott said.

"In the past, it's been difficult for fertility doctors to know which embryos in an IVF setting are likely to produce a pregnancy or a miscarriage,'' said Thomas Molinaro, lead physician at RMANJ's Eatontown office. "By sampling the embryo later, biopsying the placenta, and analyzing the genetics, we can now determine if the embryo has the right number of chromosomes. This allows us to put back fewer, more genetically sound embryos, which increases pregnancy rates while reducing the possibility of miscarriage or multiple births.''

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