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Embryo Videos Show Which Ones Likely to Grow to Become Pregnancy

Business Week,  Oct 4, 2010
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Video clips of days-old embryos reveal developing growth that may predict whether they are likely to lead to pregnancy, making them good choices to implant in women undergoing fertility treatment, a study found.

A Stanford University team used a tiny microscope with video to film 242 embryos as they grew. The scientists identified three criteria that they said may forecast with 93 percent accuracy whether an embryo would reach a stage more likely to lead to pregnancy.

The technique may improve the success of in vitro fertilization, or IVF treatments, which have a two-thirds failure rate at developing successful pregnancies, according to the research. That may lessen pressure on fertility doctors to implant multiple embryos to boost the odds, said Renee Reijo- Pera, the Stanford researcher who led the study.

“We hope that through these studies we can reduce adverse outcomes and improve pregnancy rates,” said Reijo-Pera, in an Oct. 1 telephone interview. “There shouldn’t be quintuplets and octuplets,” she said. “We want to transfer the right embryo earlier and reduce the multiple births and other adverse outcomes.”

Reijo-Pera and her colleagues published their results today in the journal Nature Biotechnology. They also have formed a closely held company, Auxogyn Inc. in Menlo Park, California, which aims to market the system to fertility clinics within two years, said Kevin Loewke, a former researcher in Reijo-Pera’s lab who now serves as Auxogyn’s engineering program manager. Auxogyn’s funders include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Menlo Park venture capital firm that was an initial backer of Google Inc.

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