October 25, 2009
By: Kim Christiansen
DENVER – For many couples yearning to have a child, this is hope. A new study has improved the pregnancy rates for women in their 40s undergoing in vitro fertilization.
CCRM Fertility is sharing results from a study using IVF with comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS). The study began two years ago.
The CCS study screens for all 23 pairs of chromosomes in a few cells removed from an embryo on day 5 or 6 of development.
“It’s given us a much better way to predict which embryos are viable, which embryos of all the them we create should be transferred and could actually turn into a baby,” Dr. William Schoolcraft.
Worldwide, the IVF pregnancy success rate is about 30 percent.
By using this technology doctors at CCRM Fertility were able to more than double that statistic.
Other benefits to this screening include a lower risk for multiple births, making it possible to transfer a single embryo.
When asked about screening embryos, Schoolcraft explained, “We’ve been doing this over 10 years, but not very well. Testing embryos for chromosomal errors goes back into the early 90s in the field. But they could only look at 5-7 chromosomes at a time, and there’s actually 23 pairs of chromosomes, so we were looking at about a third of chromosomes and because of that, a lot of embryos that seemed to be normal were abnormal.”
One of the couples to take part in this study: Dawn and Tony Semple.
They came to Colorado after failed infertility treatments in Michigan. Dawn Semple was 40 when she underwent IFV as part of the study using CCS. The Semple’s son Jake was born in December 2008. They say call themselves “blessed.”
After suffering the pain of miscarriage, Dawn Semple believes this is a tool to use medical science and help other couples struggling with infertility.
“To me, this is a tool, because you know from a philosophical or from a spiritual aspect you say boy this is a lot of science, are we trying to control this environment, control life? We ultimately believe that you know God blesses you when he’s going to bless you, and this is just a tool,” she said.
The Semples are going to use CCS and IFV again with the hopes of having another child.
Schoolcraft says more and more women in their late 30s and early 40s are seeking infertility treatment, in part because they have spent time establishing their career before starting a family.
“I don’t think we should deny them the opportunity to have children, I’m glad we have better technology for them and they can do it more effectively and safely,” Schoolcraft said.