‘NEXT-GENERATION SEQUENCING’

07.09.13

Baby Marks IVF Milestone

Quicker technique of in vitro fertilization detects abnormalities in DNA, researchers say.

The first baby has been born who was part of a new method of embryo screening that could dramatically lower costs for in vitro fertilization. The new test, developed at Oxford University, quickly combs through DNA to find abnormalities so that doctors can implant only healthy embryos. Right now, CBS News reports, only about 30 percent of embryos transferred during IVF actually implant in a uterus, and researchers suspect that many are rejected because of hidden genetic mutations. Until now, genetic tests have been costly and time consuming, meaning that embryos had to be frozen while doctors and patients awaited the results. The new test, which takes less than a day, is likely to cut costs by two thirds. Researchers say it will “revolutionize” the IVF process, though some worry it could be used for nonmedical purposes, allowing parents to choose features like hair color. CBS quotes one Dutch scientist saying, “The fact that something is scientifically and technically possible doesn't necessarily mean that it should be done.”