There has been much reported in the media about a new technique which is said to improve the success rates of IVF.
Comparative Genomic Hybridisation (CGH) is a new method which checks the viability of embryos before implantation, by analysing its chromosomes.
Cells are checked five days after fertilisation, once the embryo has reached blastocyst stage, allowing only embryos which have the correct numbers of chromosomes to be implanted, thus helping to reduce the risk of miscarriage caused by chromosomal abnormalities.
CGH can also be used to test eggs before fertilisation, which may prove useful when it comes to older women undergoing IVF, who have fewer viable eggs due to their age.
CGH is so new however that it is going to take time before it is widely available across IVF clinics, both private and NHS.
Experts have exercised caution and agreed that more scientific evidence is needed to identify which patients will benefit from CGH and by what degree, before it is routinely used as part of IVF treatment.
Currently, it is thought that CGH will be most beneficial to older women who are at an increased risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down’s Syndrome, and women who have repeated implantation failure, where the embryo does not implant into the uterus to grow as in normal pregnancy.