New equipment has been installed at the Aberdeen Fertility Centre that could help to improve women's chances of having a baby through IVF.
Part of the University of Aberdeen’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology department, the Centre has invested in a new Embryoscope which allows the team to take photos of developing embryos and utilise time lapse technology to monitor them in more detail.
Laboratory Manager, Dr Elizabeth Ferguson said: “When using conventional incubators, the embryos must be removed and monitored under a microscope to determine which are most likely to offer the best chance of pregnancy. But this method only gives us information from a single point in time so crucial developmental changes are sometimes missed.
“This new equipment automatically takes images every 10 minutes for the duration of the embryo culture period, which is usually 5 or 6 days, and the images are compiled into time lapse videos. These videos enable our embryologists to monitor development in more detail and without disturbing the embryo, which helps us to identify the best quality embryos with the most potential.”
Funded by the Scottish Government, which also provides the NHS funding for the IVF service, the £85,000 Embryoscope uses artificial intelligence to help embryologists assess each embryo in a more consistent way. Embryo assessments are generated automatically, and a scoring system is used to determine the likelihood of each embryo being successfully implanted.
Dr Ferguson added: “Embryos should be replaced one at a time to reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies and we are now able to more confidently select the best embryos for transfer. This means that patients are more likely to achieve a pregnancy and in less time. The provision of NHS funding in Scotland is the best in the UK and it allows us to continuously improve the services we provide to our patients. The purchase of this equipment is a big step forward in providing the best care and by enabling us to culture embryos for a further eight patients every week, the Embryoscope and its specialised time lapse technology will bring benefit to many patients undergoing IVF treatment for years to come.”