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Optimising IVF success

Gloria Evans

Optimising IVF success

Researchers from the University of Otago, Christchurch have developed a test to significantly improve the success rate for in vitro fertilisation implantations.

Obstetrics and gynaecology researcher Dr Gloria Evans has discovered, for the first time, key biomarkers – or signs – which show when a woman’s uterus is “more favourable” for implantation. If the key biomarkers are not present, then the embryo can be frozen until a cycle with more positive biomarkers can be achieved.

The discovery could have a significant effect in improving the success rate for couples undergoing the emotional and expensive process of IVF.

Evans says that although a lot of money and emotional energy is invested into getting an embryo ready to implant, there is still a lack of understanding about what happens after the embryo is implanted.

Currently less than half of fertilised eggs implanted through IVF result in a pregnancy. Implantation failure, in which the woman’s uterus is not in an optimal state to receive a fertilised embryo, is a common reason for these failures.

Evans has developed a laboratory test which she says showed “very encouraging results”. She has just finished a second study to verify her earlier findings and is analysing results.

“If initial results are supported in this expanded study it would mean a big step forward in assisting couples who are going through the IVF process to try to have a child. Clinicians may be able to determine the best fertility cycle to implant embryos, giving women a much better chance of achieving pregnancy.”