A new machine has been developed could be used to boost the IVF success rate up to a staggering 85%. Capable of identifying embryos which are more likely to lead to a live birth, the machine could potentially spare couples the distress and agony of stillbirths and miscarriages commonly experienced during the fertility treatment.
Here, we’ll look into this exciting development and whether artificial intelligence could prove the key to boosting IVF success rates.
Knowing which embryos to use is key to IVF success
It is estimated that approximately half of the losses experienced within early pregnancy are down to abnormal embryos. Therefore, in order to boost success rates, identifying the healthiest, normal embryos to use in IVF is crucial.
While time-lapse technology has been successfully used in IVF since 2010, it doesn’t have the same accuracy and scope as artificial intelligence. So, the development of this new machine is a great step forward and promises to improve the success rate of current technologies.
Understanding the study
The AI technology was jointly developed by the Cornell University in New York and the Imperial College London. They nicknamed the machine ‘The Beast’ and initially gave it 700 embryo images, telling the machine which ones resulted in a live birth and which led to a stillbirth or miscarriage. This helped it to identify subtle changes which could point to a potential problem.
During the trial, 328 embryo images were tested in the machine that had already been implanted into patients. Scientists asked the machine to identify which embryos would lead to a live birth and it correctly predicted 280.
What makes this new machine so impressive, is that it continues to learn as it goes along. From the data provided, it learns more about which embryos are the best to use, making it much more accurate in future.
However, experts are keen to point out that embryo health is approximately 80% to 90% of the reason a pregnancy could fail. There are other factors which could contribute too, meaning the results of the machine will never truly be 100% accurate. However, it certainly boosts the chances of success and significantly reduces the risks of a miscarriage and stillbirth.
Results of embryo viability study prove promising for future treatment
The results of the study have proven both exciting and revolutionary. The ability to increase success rates by as much as 85% is fantastic. What’s more, experts claim the technology could be used in mainstream fertility treatment within just five years.
Many fertility clinics are already using time-lapse imaging, so they’ll be able to start using the machine as soon as it becomes available. The images simply need to be sent digitally to the machine, which will then provide feedback. So, there’s no real cost of using it as everything can be done online. This makes it an especially great option to be used on the NHS.
Overall, the risk of miscarriage and stillbirths is prevalent in IVF treatment. However, this new artificial technology could soon drastically reduce the risks, enabling the majority of women to be spared the devastation of losing the baby.