Assessment of Embryo Reproductive Potential (ERP)

Assessment of Embryo Reproductive Potential (ERP)

Non-invasive Analysis Using Biospectroscopy Based Metabolomics (BSM)

IVF is generally accepted as effective first-line therapy for the treatment of infertiIity. Α major limitation in IVF is the inability to predict embryo reproductive potential or embryo viability prior to transfer. Therefore, the most important aspect of IVF is embryo seIection; more specifically, how to determine which embryos in a cohort group are viable and competent. For IVF we need to know which embryos would be successfully implanted and make it through pregnancy − ver­sus those that would not. This challenge has led to the “IVF Paradox”: how to maintain or in­crease pregnancy rates in IVF while reducing the incidence of multiple pregnancies.

MorphoIogy examination remains the primary tool for selecting embryos, aIthough it is well recognized as a sub-optimal method. More recent methods have been investigated to assess embryo viabiIity including genomic, proteomic and transcriptomic approaches. How­ever, these measurements cannot be made directly without invasive biopsy of the embryo, and take a lot of time. The development of biospec­troscopy based metaboIomics is a new, non-invasive technique that resoIves the “IVF Paradox”.

Reducing Multiple Pregnancies Using a New Rapid Non-invasive Embryo Selection Technique

Το overcome the dangers of multiple births through IVF, many countries have mandated single em­bryo transfer in IVF. Obviously, we need to be able to predict which embryo would fill the requirements for successful implantation and pregnancy.

The commonly accepted clinical practice and standard of care for assessing embryo viability in IVF is based on the developing embryo's morphological characteristics. Cleavage rates and mor­phology have been used since the earliest days of IVF, but the method is not very ac­curate for successfully identifying embryos capable of sustaining an ongoing pregnancy. As a result, new embryo assessment tools, based on either invasive or non-invasive techni­ques have been sought-after by IVF clinics in order to overcome this problem.

Numerous animal and human studies in the past have shown that the embryo changes its surrounding culture media in a manner which can be used to predict if that embryo will implant. The problem for clinical lVF has aIways been:

  • The ability to measure the change without damaging the embryo.
  • The ability to measure the change quickly.
  • The ability to measure the change consistently and accurately.

Metabolomics is the new technique that fulfills all 3 of the above criteria. It involves non-invasive metabolomic profiling of the embryos surrounding culture media. Using Near Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to profile biomarkers of οxi­dative and energy metabolism (metabolite profiles), it enables us to accurately identify embryos with reproductive potential in IVF.

Nowadays, the non-invasive Metabolomic technique is used in conjunction with current clinical practices (e.g. morphology), to aid in the identification of viable embryos, and improve patient outcomes.

Ιn collaboration with James T. Posillico Molecular Biometrics LLC, Chester, NJ, USA

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