Time has two articles online today about IVF -- one details a study that says that babies born through IVF may be more intelligent. The other, which I think has a more immediate relevance to the surrogacy community, talks about what may be a new way to predict a given embryo's chance of success:
With more than four million babies and counting, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a well-established way for couples who otherwise couldn't have children to start or expand a family. For some, it's their only option.
It has been more than three decades since a physician produced the first successful pregnancy through IVF, a process that involves extracting and fertilizing an egg with sperm in a lab dish, creating an embryo and transferring it to a woman's womb. (That doctor, Robert Edwards, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine on Monday for his achievement.) But the success rate for a live birth still remains disappointingly low, on average around 30%. So researchers at Stanford have come up with an innovative way to improve the chances of a pregnancy by selecting only the strongest and healthiest embryos. (More on
Led by Dr. Renee Reijo Pera, director of human embryonic stem cell research and education and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, the group predicted with 93% accuracy which embryos generated during IVF were most likely to lead to a successful pregnancy. The team was able to peek into the very earliest stages of human development, when the embryo divides for the very first time in the two days after fertilization, by making a movie of the process and then measuring differences between those early steps. “What we've done is make a movie of the entire pathway and process rather than taking pictures at stagnant times,” she says.