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Ovumia fertility clinic first in Finland to introduce embryo chromosome testing from culture media

With the help of embryo testing pregnancy rates are improved by selecting chromosomally normal embryos for transfer. The niPGT-A method, developed as a result of many years of research at Ovumia, is a completely new way of conducting chromosome testing of embryos and optimize the order of embryo transfer. The new method is gentle on the embryos because there is no need to tamper with the embryo. Ovumia is the first to introduce the method in Finland and is thus one of the most advanced clinics in Europe.

Advanced gentle chromosome testing reduces risks

Unsuccessful infertility treatments are very often caused by an abnormality in the number of chromosomes in the embryo. These abnormalities associated with the normal physiology of human reproduction become more common with a woman’s age. In connection with in vitro fertilization treatments, it has been possible for years to perform an embryo chromosome examination and to select an embryo that has received a normal test result for transfer to the uterus. The study has so far been done by taking a few cells from the embryo to isolate the DNA. However, there remains a low risk of embryo damage during sampling, which may impair embryo viability. To eliminate this risk, Ovumia will introduce a non-invasive chromosome analysis method based on the DNA secreted by the embryo into its culture medium. This service, niPGT-A (Non-Invasive Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy), will be offered in May 2022 at Ovumia’s Tampere Clinic and later at Ovumia’s Helsinki Clinic.

An exceptional method as a result of long research

Embryos were found to secrete DNA into the surrounding culture medium in the middle of the last decade. The use of culture medium DNA for embryonic chromosome testing has been hampered by the migration of maternal DNA into the culture medium with the oocytes. Removing maternal DNA from the culture medium has proven challenging. The DNA of the embryo culture medium has been studied in Ovumia since 2017. “As a result of this work, we have developed a sufficiently simple and reliable method to efficiently remove maternally derived DNA that provides high reliability for chromosome testing of embryonic culture medium,” says Peter Bredbacka, a pioneer in embryonic diagnostics. “The test result from the culture medium is reliably obtained from the embryos already on the fifth day of culture, and this is exceptional in our method.”

The best method to determine the order of embryo transfer

The new method avoids the risk associated with cell sampling from the embryo. The new method is a particularly good embryo selection tool for treatments that produce a large number of embryos to be examined. The test result information is used to assign the embryo transfer order, from which the best embryos for transfer can be selected. The new niPGT-A method can provide even more embryos for transfer than the cell sample-based method.

More information:

Embryo diagnostics expert Peter Bredbacka
Senior Embryologist, Customer Relationship Manager Kirsi Kananen
Infertility biologist Niina Viitanen

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