New IVF Technique Puts Pregnancy Within Reach for Many 40-somethings

The chance of pregnancy for women in their early 40s who use traditional IVF techniques is approximately 13 percent. However, an in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique known as complete chromosomal screening (CCS) could raise pregnancy success rates to up to 60 percent. CCS could be particularly effective for women experiencing recurrent, unexplained miscarriages.

Through complete chromosomal screening, doctors take the cells of day-old embryos, called blastocysts, and examine them in detail to see if they have exactly 46 chromosomes – 23 from each parent. Aneupliod, or chromosomally abnormal, embryos often end in miscarriage; therefore, by selecting only the normal embryos, the chances of a successful pregnancy increase significantly. In order to reduce chromosomal abnormalities and prevent miscarriage many women also chose to take DHEA supplements during IVF.

After the normal embryos have been selected, they are frozen for a month to give the patient’s reproductive organs time to return to normal post-IVF treatment. This is done because, according to some scientists, embryos can be harmed if put into the womb while in vitro fertilization drugs are still in the patient’s system. Many researchers also claim that cryopreservation produces healthier babies with similar birth weights to those that are conceived naturally. Meanwhile, embryos that are produced by IVF and not frozen tend to produce babies of a lower weight.

Case study

For a study carried out by Colorado researchers, IVF with CCS was performed on 42 women with recurrent miscarriage. Of that group, nine women had only aneupliod embryos, meaning no normal embryos could be transferred. Of the remaining 33 women with at least one chromosomally normal embryo, nearly 88 percent resulted in pregnancy, and only one miscarriage was recorded.

This makes in vitro fertilization with CCS a viable option for women who have tried other IVF techniques with no success.