Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 338

Births in Italy and Germany

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 17 ottobre 2010

Two women taking part in the world’s first controlled study of a comprehensive genetic screening test before IVF have given birth to healthy babies. The babies, twin girls born in Germany in June and a singleton boy born in Italy in September, are the first deliveries in a pilot study of comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) by microarray, a new method of screening oocytes for IVF for a full range of chromosomal disorders. Dr Cristina Magli, embryologist at the SISMER Centre in Bologna, one of the two centres taking part in the trial, said: ” All the babies and their mothers are doing very well in terms of weight and overall developmental performance.” The microarray CGH technique as evaluated in the ESHRE study has several advantages over other methods:
* CGH tests all 23 pairs of chromosomes in a cell, and not just a limited number (as in former methods)
* The cell tested (known as the polar body) is taken from an oocyte at fertilisation, and so does not require biopsy of a cell from a developing embryo for its analysis
* Earlier chromosome tests were on cells biopsied from growing embryos and did not necessarily reflect the total status of the embryo (because of chromosome “mosaicism”); polar body analysis removes this potential problem
* Other CGH tests on biopsies from five-day-old embryos require several days to deliver complete results – and thus require the freeze-storage of the embryo before it can be transferred; polar body CGH can be done in real time and does not require freezing
At the everyday clinical level, polar body CGH is likely to have two more important consequences: first, because the analysis is performed on oocytes and not on embryos, countries like Germany which outlaw embryo analysis and freezing will now have at their disposal a reliable method of preimplantation genetic screening; and second, because the chromosomal status of the transferred embryo can be accurately predicted (with no more than a 10 per cent error rate as found in the ESHRE study), the reduction of multiple pregnancies in IVF by single embryo transfer will become more attractive. The next step for ESHRE will be to upgrade the pilot study into a large-scale international clinical trial, which is planned to start in 2011.

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