Test that virtually guarantees IVF success

A new health check that will dramatically increase the chances of IVF success could be available to women in months

Only a quarter of the 40,000 women who have IVF each year succeed in having a baby but that could be about to change with a test that’s set to almost guarantee pregnancy.

The three-in-one test, developed by Oxford University scientists, allows only the best embryos to be selected for IVF and is expected to slash the odds of miscarriage and greatly boost the chances of women having a healthy baby.

‘It offers the possibility of enhancing success rates of IVF, allowing couples to more rapidly get to the point of having a child and avoids the heartbreak of miscarriage and termination of pregnancies affected by serious disorders,’ says inventor of the new test Dr Dagan Wells.

The test works by checking for three kinds of genetic faults in the egg or embryo to determine which ones are most likely to end in a successful pregnancy.

Currently, embryos can be checked for chromosomal abnormalities (which have been shown to increase the chances of miscarriage) – but the new test will also check for healthy mitochondria and normal telomeres.

IVF currently costs between £3,000 and £15,000 a course. Dr Wells hopes to make the test widely available in 2012, and estimates it will add about £2000 to the cost of IVF.

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