IVF is one of the popular treatments which assist couples with infertility problems, singles mothers and LGBT community to procreate. It is a type of assisted reproductive technology that is used to treat fertility and genetic problems. In this process an ovum is artificially fertilized in a laboratory and then implanted into the uterus.
The global IVF devices market is projected to witness a substantial increase in the coming years due to the increasing cases of infertility. The IVF devices market is estimated to reach $6,891 million by 2025. Given this, there have been many advances across all aspects of fertility treatments. In addition to this, research is now focused on refining protocols and identifying which patients may benefit better with which techniques. Below are some of the recent advancements in IVF:
- Genetic Disease Screening: The most important advancement in IVF over the years has involved embryo biopsy and genetic analysis. This helps in addressing the challenge of embryos that turn out to be chromosomally abnormal. Traditionally fertility doctors chose the embryos according to a grading system based on its appearance. But embryos with too many or too fewer chromosome s can increase the rate of miscarriage or result in problems like Down syndrome. Using genetic screening, we can safely biopsy a few cells from the embryo and analyze its chromosomal structure. Moreover, couples with a risk of having a baby with genetic diseases such as Cystic fibrosis or sickle-cell anaemia, can undertake IVF to have their embryos genetically analyzed and significantly reduce the chances of transferring the disease to their children.
- Vitrification: It is a process in which the egg or an embryo is frozen to be used later. When patients undergo an IVF process, they are likely to produce a number of feasible embryos. Any embryos that are not immediately transferred back to the patient are frozen in cryo-storage for later transfer. Unfertilized eggs can also be frozen for future use.
- Single Embryo Transfer: This technique addresses the major criticism of the fertility industry: multiple pregnancies. Traditionally two or more embryos are transferred to maximize the chance of a successful pregnancy. But with the genetic screening technology, the embryos that are more likely to lead a healthy pregnancy can be determined and transferred. This has led to an approximate 60 per cent pregnancy rate with, which is similar to with the two embryos, but with a drastically lesser risk of twins.
- New Medications: An additional IVF advance involves the use of medications to increase the production of eggs and speed their maturation. The traditional way of prompting ovulation is through the injection of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, which is the pregnancy hormone. However, this hormone can result in ovarian hyperstimulation, a possibly dangerous condition, in some women. As a result, researchers are growingly using gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, which stimulates the body’s own luteinizing hormone thus triggering natural egg production.
The scope of recent advances in IVF technologies is astounding. The newly introduced technologies have the potential to expand the utilization of IVF to a broad section of society with and without an infertility diagnosis.