A brand new weapon in the fight against infertility is showing promising results just six months into its Gold Coast trial.
Monash IVF is the only clinic in the city where patients can access the state of the art automated lab technology that could hold the key to more successful IVF treatments world-wide.
The next generation digital imaging technology monitors early stage embryo development and selection, providing 24 hour time-lapse videos to assess embryos around the clock.
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The time-lapse machine combines an incubator, a microscope, a high resolution camera and computer software that captures focused images, automatically removing the need for embryos to be disturbed.
Senior Monash IVF Specialist Dr Kee Ong says the high definition image technology has increased embryo monitoring time by over 100,000 percent.
“Traditionally, embryos are removed from the incubator two days after fertilisation and then again after five days for observation under a microscope,” he said.
“Up until now, we’ve had no way of knowing how an embryo is progressing in between. We can now analyse more than 7200 minutes of development during the first five days compared with the standard 6-10 minutes.”
Each machine is capable of incubating 240 embryos at a time assisting up to 15 women simultaneously.
“We know the less an embryo is handled the better. We can now take a picture every 10 minutes, quickly identify embryos that are developing abnormally as well as the strongest embryo most likely to establish a pregnancy,” Dr Ong said.
“IVF is a journey that can take a severe emotional and financial toll on patients. We aim to achieve pregnancy in the shortest possible time frame and increased ability to choose the best embryo will get us there even quicker.
“It may be that all embryos are cultured this way in the future. Right now, we’re trialing the technology and gathering data to determine its full potential.”
Dr Ong says faster more accurate results leading to faster decision making for clinicians about treatment options is incredible news for every woman undergoing IVF or ICSI.
“This technology is most beneficial though for women who have experienced repeated IVF failure after embryo transfer; women whose embryos have failed to develop; those who have experienced repeated miscarriage and for women over 35 years of age,” Dr Ong said.
“The time-lapse technology provides us with a depth of information about embryo quality that simply wasn’t available before and we’re excited by the fresh hope we can now offer to women and couples struggling to conceive.
“We can now reduce handling, increase monitoring, allow for better embryo selection and potentially provide patients with the very first video of their miracle baby.
“It’s an exciting moment for reproductive medicine and it’s happening right here on the Gold Coast!”
Partnering with assisted reproduction pioneers, Monash IVF, Dr Kee Ong is located in Short Street Southport in the city’s only all-encompassing fertility treatment centre.
For the first time on the Gold Coast, patients can access consultation and early fertility treatment through to surgical procedures, IVF and allied health in one location.
“The highest pregnancy rates can only be achieved by a combination of excellent clinical management and an excellent laboratory,” Dr Ong said.
“Investing in ground-breaking technology and modern medicine while embracing alternative health treatments in a holistic approach really does give patients the very best chance to conceive.”