Innovative Device to Improve IVF Success

Jan 20, 2010
A new device for IVF procedure that imitates embryo motions in the body will considerably improve success rates of fertility treatment, study says.

Researchers from University of Michigan came up with the novel way to help couples struggling with infertility. The device developed by scientists mimics how embryo bounces as it travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus, which makes the fertilization process more natural.  Usually, during in vitro fertilization procedure, the eggs are fertilized by sperm outside the uterus and then transferred to a special culture dish for about two days until the embryo will be placed in the uterus.

Shu Takayama and Gary Smith, the leading authors of the study said that the new device is meant to make cells feel more at home and select better cells, which will boost IFV success. The research revealed that stimulation of the embryos movements while they grow during IVF procedure increases pregnancy success rate in mice by 22 percent.   

The early-stage embryos are placed inside the device that looks like a small thimble-like funnel, having tiny channels at the bottom that filter waste products and help the embryo move in nutrient-rich fluid. The Braille pins that support the funnel pulsate and generate current that imitates body flows during muscle contractions and the movements of the cilia, tiny hair-like projections inside fallopian tubes that move the egg through the tube to the uterus.

The embryos grown in this innovative dynamic device were healthier and stronger than those placed in a static environment. The study found that around 77 percent of embryos, grown in a new device resulted in pregnancies, while during the usual IVF procedure, almost 55 embryos led to pregnancies.

The researchers say that this latest invention in medicine will not only result in higher pregnancy rates and healthier embryos, but also use fewer embryos and reduce the risk of multiple births.