IVF ups 42-yr-old’s odds of having baby by 60 pc

London: Scientists have developed an IVF process which they claim could give a woman in her early forties the same chance of becoming pregnant as a 32-year-old.

Researchers from Colorado claim the screening treatment  could boost a 42-year-old's odds of having a baby from 13 per cent to 60 per cent.

It works by picking only the embryos most likely to create a healthy foetus, slashing the odds of miscarriage, the Daily Mail reported.

The treatment also involves the embryos being frozen for at least a month after In vitro fertilisation (IVF) to allow the woman's reproductive organs to return to normal.

Scientists believe that the powerful fertility-boosting drugs given during IVF can harm the embryo if it is put into the womb too soon.

A woman aged 40 to 42 typically has a low chance of becoming pregnant with IVF and is unlikely to conceive naturally.

Patients will have to pay 2,000 pounds for the test, on top of a cycle of IVF costing 3,000 pounds to 4,000 pounds a course. The process has already been used on 1,200 women in the US.

The US scientists claim their procedure is the most advanced of several being developed to boost pregnancy odds, and is the only one to have been through rigorous trials that have all shown the same high success rates.

Called comprehensive chromosome screening with vitrification, it involves taking a few cells from a blastocyst – an embryo just five or six days old.

An ideal blastocyst has 46 chromosomes – 23 each from the sperm and the egg. The wrong chromosome count reduces the odds of pregnancy – or 'implantation' – and raises the risk of miscarriage. Only if the cells have 46 chromosomes is the embryo frozen.

ome women will not have good enough embryos and will never become pregnant no matter how many times they have IVF. The scientists say the screening could spare them the heartache of further costly treatments.

"What we've been able to show is that a woman aged 38 to 42, if she has a blastocyst with a normal number of chromosomes, her chances of implantation are independent of her age. So she has the same chances of implantation – at 60 per cent – as a woman who is 32," Dr Mandy Katz-Jaffe, from the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, said.

Oxford academic Dr Dagan Wells, who helped develop the process, said freezing the embryo, known as cryopreservation, not only boosted the chances of pregnancy but produced healthier babies.

"The birth weight of the babies is essentially the same as babies conceived naturally, whereas embryos produced by IVF and transferred immediately, without cryopreservation, have a tendency to be of lower weight," he added.

The details will be presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in San Diego, California.