Scientists have unveiled a new IVF screening process that could significantly boost women in their 40s’ chances of becoming pregnant.
The process, which works by picking out only the embryos most likely to create a healthy foetus, could improve a 42 year old’s odds of having a baby from 13 per cent to 60 percent.
Scientists from the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine who have developed the procedure revealed it works by counting chromosomes on a blastocyst (an embryo at five or six days old).
An ideal blastocyst has 46 chromosomes, giving it the best chances of resulting in pregnancy. In the trial, only cells with 46 chromosomes were selected, then frozen for a month to allow the woman’s reproductive system to recover before implantation.
Currently, a woman aged 40-42 has a low chance of conceiving naturally or through IVF, but scientists have reported that by using this new process, a woman in her early forties will have the same chance as a 32 year old.
This development has been described as ‘controversial’ by British Fertility Society member Staurt Lavery who said, “To put an embryo through the freeze and a thaw is a bit of an insult. It’s a shock, and sometimes it will kill a few cells.”
The estimated cost of the treatment, at £2,000 above normal IVF fees of between £3,000 – £4,000, has also garnered criticism, with British experts warning that many patients simply won’t be able to afford it.