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Experts find way of testing embryo quality

New study suggests the likelihood of conception with IVF can be pre-determined.
Researchers in the US have discovered a new way of assessing a woman's chances of conceiving via IVF treatment.

A study conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that the quality of an embryo and its reproductive potential can be determined prior to fertilisation.

Commenting on the findings, senior author Dr Barry Behr, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said: "This shows we can predict embryo development and viability from the egg.

"Think of it as a sort of smog test for the embryo. It tells you how clean the engine is burning, and whether there are any problems."

The researchers extracted eggs from 43 women, incubated them for three hours and then examined their metabolomic results before fertilisation.

According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, in 2006, the average success rate for women aged 35 and under who had IVF treatment using their own eggs was 31 per cent.

Latest Figures show that more than 34,850 women underwent IVF in the UK in 2006, resulting in over 12,500 babies.

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