Seattle Mom One of Nation’s First to Benefit From New Anti-Miscarriage Technology

July 21, 2010

SEATTLE, July 21 /PRNewswire/ – A Seattle-area mother and her four-month-old daughter represent a tiny number of births nationwide – perhaps among the first three- using a technology that could be the next major advancement in reducing multiple miscarriages.

Sheila Gruber, 34, of Duval, had suffered two consecutive miscarriages prior to undergoing a form of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryonic analysis that allows geneticists to examine about one-fourth of the entire human genome – 40 times more than possible with other technology – in eliminating severely flawed chromosomes.

The technology – micro-array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) – has become available as a diagnostic tool only in the last 12 to 24 months, say Seattle fertility specialists at the Northwest Center for Reproductive Sciences (NCRS). Gruber’s birth is among the first three resulting from aCGH analysis performed by the New Jersey-based Reprogenetics, which claims to be first private genetics laboratory nationwide to bring the technology to market.

“Generally, Mother Nature always attempts to produce a perfect embryo and discard all the rest,” said Klaus Wiemer, Ph.D., lab director at NCRS, the medical practice where Gruber was a patient. “Micro-array CGH could represent the largest step forward yet in finding the fastest, most effective way to identify the near-perfect embryo without the heartbreak of miscarriage.”

With aCGH scientists can assess all 24 chromosomes in an embryo no older than three days. Previous technology allowed inspection of no more than a dozen chromosomes, each containing millions of bits of biological information.

Most embryos cannot survive if they are either missing or possessing an extra chromosome, a condition known as aneuploidy. The most common survivable form of aneuploidy is trisomy 21, an extra chromosome found in babies born with Down syndrome.

“The old technology was like viewing the length of a football field through binoculars,” said Michael Opsahl, M.D., Gruber’s physician at NCRS. “The new technology gives us a telescope to peer across an entire galaxy.”

For Gruber, the breakthrough brought a mix of joy and relief: “We spent four long years struggling to carry a pregnancy to term. Our daughter’s birth was miraculous.”

SOURCE Northwest Center for Reproductive Sciences

Source: newswire

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