A group of researchers from Stanford University decided to conduct a study in order find out what leads to a successful in vitro fertilization and what they discovered was that an embryo’s level of squishiness was a clear indicator of the procedure’s success rate.
Examining the rigidity of an hour-long fertilized egg could now be a reliable method used by doctors in order to pick the most valid embryos for fertilization.
The scientists conducted their experiment on mice and started by applying a small degree of pressure to mouse eggs, an hour after fertilization, observing the rigidity of each egg in the process.
Afterwards, they moved them in a nurturing liquid and re-tested them at the blastocyst level.
At that point, the researchers discovered that the eggs which had a certain degree of squishiness, meaning they would give a push back once they were gently pressed, offered the best chances for a successful in vitro fertilization.
Continuing with this line of thought, the team of scientists decided to design a predictive computational model based on the egg’s level of squishiness, which can say with a 90% accuracy whether the fertilized egg has a chance of developing into a fully-formed blastocyst.
The blastocyst can be described as a mammalian blastula that presents some differentiation of cells.
After this phase, the embryos were returned to the mice and, according to the researchers’ findings, they had a 50% greater chance of transforming into a viable pregnancy than the embryos that were considered viable through classical techniques.
Dr. Barry Behr, who is the director of Stanford’s IVF laboratory, remarks that even though cancer and other types of diseases present rigid tumors and tissues, their colleagues were certainly surprised that so much can be revealed from conducting such a simple, mechanical test.
The researchers themselves are amazed of the fact that the success rate of an IVF can be determined by simply squeezing the embryo soon after it was fertilized.
The groundbreaking study can be found in the latest edition of the journal Nature Communications and it could restore hope to many couples who are currently struggling to conceive a baby.
In general, around 30% of all the embryos used for in vitro fertilization result in a successful pregnancy.
The first baby who was ever conceived outside her mother’s womb was born in 1978 and represents the first successful case of this procedure, which combines the eggs and the sperm in a special laboratory.
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