New technique may increase healthy IVF births

In the 32-year history of in vitro fertilization, one problem has continued to baffle researchers: many embryos transferred have some sort of chromosome abnormality. "Indeed, it's still the case that two out of every three embryos we transfer fail to implant as a pregnancy, many of them because of these abnormalities," says Luca Gianaroli, chairman of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), which organized a study to look at new genetic screening technologies for IVF.

The results of that study, performed in Bologna, Italy, and Bonn, Germany, are two healthy babies, twin girls in Germany and a boy in Italy. They are the first deliveries in a pilot study of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) by microarray, a new method of screening oocytes for IVF for a full range of chromosomal disorders.

"The whole world of IVF has been trying to find an effective way of screening for these abnormalities for more than a decade, but results so far have been disappointing with the technology available,” Gianaroli said in the news release "Now we have a new technology in array CGH and our hopes are that this will finally provide a reliable means of assessing the chromosomal status of the embryos we transfer."

Oh, and all the babies and their mothers are reportedly doing well.

- read the ESHRE release