Time-lapse imaging of embryos growing in the clinic can increase the chances of identifying those most likely to develop into a successful pregnancy, according to a new study. When couples use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive, more than one embryo often results, and doctors have to choose which ones to implant in the mother. Researchers have now developed a method that uses time-lapse photography  to more accurately observe how long an embryo takes to develop from fertilization to the hollow ball of cells called a blastocyst (pictured) about 5 days later. Embryos that take longer are more likely to carry chromosomal abnormalities that lead to miscarriage. In a paper published today in Reproductive BioMedicine Online, the team reports that embryos that scored low risk on their evaluation scale had a 61% chance of resulting in a live birth, compared with a 19% chance for medium-risk embryos . No embryos in the high-risk category produced a pregnancy. The technique is noninvasive and much less expensive than current genetic screening methods, which require removing a few cells from the blastocyst.
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