28 February 2008

Growing Better Designer IVF Babies?

UK researchers are trying to make having babies by IVF safer and more reliable. In the process, they may end up with healthier embryos.
The new device allows embryos created in the lab to be incubated inside a perforated silicon container inserted into a woman's own womb. After a few days, the capsule is recovered and some embryos are selected for implantation in the womb.

Embryos incubated in the lab must have their growth medium changed every few hours to provide new nutrients and get rid of waste. The new device provides a more natural environment.

The silicon capsule is about 5 millimetres long and less than a millimetre wide. Its walls are perforated with 360 holes, each around 40 microns across. After embryos have been loaded inside, the ends are sealed and the container is connected to a flexible wire that holds the device inside the uterus (see image, lower right). A thread trails through the cervix to allow it to be recovered later on.___NewScientist
In vitro fertilisation is a high-risk procedure for the embryo. Fewer than 50% of implanted embryos survive. The new technique provides the encapsulated embryos with a more natural environment, allowing embryos to develop more normally--leading to more selectively viable pregnancies.


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