Embryo screening may help to overcome recurrent miscarriage

Bourn Hall Clinic is introducing a new service called Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS)  or embryo screening that can detect chromosome abnormalities and help the embryologist select the embryo that is most likely to thrive.

Embryo screening

There are many reasons for recurrent miscarriage, but a common cause is thought to be that the embryo has the wrong number of chromosomes, preventing it from developing correctly and the pregnancy is lost.

Martyn Blayney, Science Director for Bourn Hall explains the problem: “Embryos that have too few or too many chromosomes are known as aneuploid. The risk of this increases with age, but it may also be the result of smoking or other environmental factors.

“We want to select the embryo with the greatest chance of success so PGS may be advised for some patients, particularly those who have experienced: recurrent miscarriage following a natural or IVF conception; repeated implantation failure or where the woman is over 35 and her egg quality is poor.”

Select best embryos

Bourn Hall has teamed up with CooperGenomics, a global leader in reproductive genetics, to be one of only a handful of clinics in the UK to offer its patients the new genetic test that will allow embryo screening for chromosome irregularities.

Blayney continues: “The test takes place within the IVF cycle. The eggs are fertilised with sperm as normal and then the embryos grown for about five days in the incubator. At this stage the embryo will have reached blastocyst stage and the cells will have differentiated and some will become the fetus and others the placenta. “

A few of the cells, that would otherwise have become part of the placenta, are removed for testing in the CooperGenomics laboratory and in the meantime all the embryos are frozen.

“The results are sent back to the embryologist at Bourn Hall and the normal embryos identified for subsequent transfer in a frozen embryo transfer cycle.”

Blayney continues, “The scientific and medical evidence supporting the use of PGS is encouraging, but more robust clinical and laboratory trials are needed to assess whether or not PGS significantly increases live birth rates.”

Don’t wait 2 years for NHS referral 

This new test is part of a continuing programme of investment by Bourn Hall Clinic to improve its range of fertility services aimed at getting more people pregnant sooner. Fertility declines with age and now that IVF treatment is no longer available on the NHS in Cambridgeshire there is no benefit in waiting for 2-3 years to be referred for testing and diagnosis.

Bourn Hall provides a fertility health + wellbeing service which is available immediately and provides a comprehensive assessment of any issues within 6 weeks; compared to an average of 18 months at the local hospital.

This means that treatment can start years earlier when the chances of pregnancy are much greater.

This is whether patients are boosting their natural fertility with lifestyle changes, a programme of ovulation drugs or fertility treatment such as IVF as appropriate to their diagnosis.

Choose experience 

Many people are not aware that the cost of fertility treatments, including IVF, is similar between Cambridge IVF clinics, and that Bourn Hall offers the benefit of 40 years of experience, with over 17,000 live births and continual investment into new technology – such as PGS which can help more people achieve their dreams of parenthood.

Bourn Hall is hosting a free fertility awareness evening at 6 pm on Wednesday 7th February at its Cambridge Clinic to allow individuals and couples to explore the options available to them.

More information: www.bournhall.co.uk/news-events


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