July 30, 2008

Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine Increases Success Rates to 80 Percent With Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening of IVF Embryos

The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) announced today an increase in in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates to 80 percent from its Institutional Review Board-approved clinical preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) study involving comprehensive screening of all 23 pairs of chromosomes on day five embryos (blastocysts).

In May 2007, CCRM commenced this innovative, world first clinical study, which screens for all 23 pairs of chromosomes on a few cells removed from the blastocyst using a technique called comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). The small number of cells removed are destined to become future placental cells. The goal of comprehensive chromosomal screening is to reduce the likelihood of implantation failure, miscarriage, and/or aneuploid offspring (i.e., Down syndrome), by only transferring embryos that have the correct number of chromosomes. Previous PGS techniques involved screening only five to nine pairs of chromosomes.

"There are many variables that contribute to a successful pregnancy," said William Schoolcraft, M.D., founder and medical director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. "One of them is having an embryo with the correct number of chromosomes. Since a high proportion of failed pregnancies are due to abnormalities in chromosome numbers, CGH helps eliminate one variable from the equation."

As of July 1, 2008, 14 patients in this comprehensive PGS clinical study have had an egg retrieval and subsequent frozen embryo transfer. Since all comprehensive chromosomal screening techniques take longer than a single day, blastocysts are cryopreserved using a new vitrification technique, which has resulted in 100 percent blastocyst survival. In addition, the time allows the woman's body to naturally rid itself of the ovarian stimulation drugs required during an IVF cycle. Twelve of the 14 patients have had a positive pregnancy test, and 10 have ongoing pregnancies including one delivery. The first CCRM baby conceived with this procedure was born in June 2008.

"We are thrilled with the outcome thus far of the center's comprehensive PGS clinical study," said Dr. Schoolcraft. "With these promising early results, CCRM is continuing the clinical trial giving patients access to comprehensive testing of their embryos."

The abstract of this study was one of the top ten submitted to be considered for the SART Prize Paper award at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 64th Annual Meeting in November 2008.

About the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine

The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) is one of the nation's leading fertility clinics, providing a wide variety of infertility treatments ranging from basic care to the most advanced in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology available. CCRM was founded in 1987 by Dr. William Schoolcraft and since its inception has achieved national recognition for its clinical excellence and advanced research in the field of reproductive medicine.

Led by four infertility specialists with national reputations for excellence in the treatment of infertility, CCRM assists patients from around the world through its state of the art, compassionate care.