Assisted Fertility Services has added laser surgery to its array of reproductive laboratory techniques and is now offering embryo biopsy as an adjunct to assisted reproductive techniques for infertility.
The laser is part of the microscope used in the laboratory for routine micromanipulation techniques, where we can use special tools to manipulate eggs and embryos. The laser allows us to make a small hole in the outer covering of the embryo, called the zona pellucida. When the hole is made, some cells from the embryo herniate out through the hole, and these can then be biopsied to determine if there are genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo.
During the biopsy, the laser is used to detach a small number of cells from the embryo, which are then sent to specialized molecular biology labs for analysis. Within 24 hours, we can get results from the biopsy. At that point, embryos that have tested negative for chromosomal or genetic abnormalities can be transferred to the patient.
This technology provides our patients with several advantages. We can now eliminate the transmission of lethal genetic diseases when testing shows that the parents are carriers of such disorders. For older patients or patients with recurrent pregnancy loss, many times there are numerical chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidy) in the embryo that prevent a successful pregnancy. Embryo biopsy techniques allow us to transfer chromosomally normal embryos and substantially improve the chance of a successful outcome in such patients.
*Image courtesy of www.acfs2000.com