Docs find way to curb multiple pregnancies
Around 30 per cent of women who go through in vitro-fertilisation (IVF) treatment end up conceiving twins or triplets. This can be undesirable and also increases the risk of pre-term delivery and related health problems for the babies.mumbai Updated: Aug 04, 2010 01:36 IST
Around 30 per cent of women who go through in vitro-fertilisation (IVF) treatment end up conceiving twins or triplets. This can be undesirable and also increases the risk of pre-term delivery and related health problems for the babies.
Armed with a new technology, doctors at Lilavati Hospital now claim they can eliminate the chances of multiple pregnancies by assessing the health of embryos and transferring only the best one into a woman's uterus. Doctors usually implant three embryos during IVF to increase chances of pregnancy.
The technology — Metabolomics — was inaugurated by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Tuesday. Doctors claimed that Lilavati is the first centre in Asia and fifth in the world to install the machine.
During IVF, doctors use sperm and eggs to create multiple embryos in a petri-dish. They then pick two or three "healthy ones" based on their appearance for transfer.
"The selected embryos may or may not have the potential to get implanted in the uterus and result in pregnancy. Metabolomics will help us determine exactly which embryo has implant potential," said Dr Hrishikesh Pai, infertility specialist at Lilavati.
He added that the technology would benefit young couples who want only one child. "We can select the best embryo and transfer only one if the woman is below 35 years and does not have other complications. For older women, we would have to continue transferring three embryos as their chances of conceiving are low."
Independent infertility specialists are skeptical about the technology's potential.
"Metabolomics can only assess the embryo physiologically. It cannot help identify genetically abnormal embryos, which don't get implanted in the uterus," said Dr Anjali Malpani.
She added that a biopsy – removing one cell of the embryo and putting it through genetic tests — is a more reliable way to assess embryos.
"Metabolomics is in the experimental stage," she said.