Fujifilm picks up AI program for guiding IVF procedures

Looking to bring artificial intelligence to the field of in vitro fertilization, Fujifilm has picked up a program developed by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital designed to boost the procedure’s success.

Through its Irvine Scientific subsidiary, which focuses on assisted reproductive technologies and cell culture media, Fujifilm plans to offer non-exclusive licenses of the technology to other fertility companies that wish to employ AI and image-based tools in their work.

The software analyzes pictures of human embryos to help find the healthiest candidates for implantation. The technology requires no specialized imaging equipment and can be easily merged into a company’s existing workflow, according to Fujifilm.

"Considering how important an IVF cycle is to the patient, each step in the process is critical,” said the software’s co-inventor Charles Bormann, the IVF laboratory director at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Embryologists make dozens of decisions that impact the success of that cycle,” Bormann said. “With assistance from our AI system, embryologists will have a valuable tool to use in their effort to identify and select embryos with the highest chance of pregnancy." 

The team of researchers previously had their work published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, showing their AI programs could work even when using low-quality images acquired from inexpensive portable microscope systems—including in evaluating human embryos, quantifying different types of sperm and diagnosing infections in blood.

"Tools to assist with embryo selection are only the beginning. Development and testing of applications to support the selection of oocytes, sperm and genetic assessment are in progress," said Steve Geimer, executive director of Fujifilm Irvine Scientific’s medical business unit. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.