Sperm cells surround an embryo 311.
(photo credit: Debbi Morello/Detroit Free Press/MCT)
A new clinic at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center is the first in the country to raise the rate of successful implantation of healthy embryos in the womb, from around 25 percent using ordinary techniques to a significant 75% rate.
The new technique, developed abroad and used in only 10 to 30 places in the US and Europe, is called 24 Sure. It involves examining, over a period of 26 hours, all 46 chromosomes (23 pairs) in an eight-celled embryo. It enables the lab to check whether the embryo has the normal number of chromosomes, with the best chance of being implanted successfully.
Prof. Gheona Altarescu, a Romanian-born expert at SZMC’s medical genetics institute’s molecular laboratory, said the technique is so successful that she expects other Israeli hospitals will follow.
It will benefit not only older women who have a smaller chance of succeeding with IVF, but also younger women who have gone through several miscarriages and carriers of chromosome changes, said the scientist, who heads the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis unit at the hospital.
The procedure is not yet included in the basket of health services, but IVF itself is. For the additional testing, the couples must pay several thousand shekels, “but it can save the time, pain, and emotional effort” of going through yet another IVF procedure.
The health funds are expected to adopt the procedure, because each fertility treatment cycle costs a lot of money. Altarescu learned the procedure in Chicago, but the company that developed it and sells the materials is Blue- Nome of Cambridge in the UK.
So far, some 20 women have gotten healthy pregnancies with the technique, but still have to wait a few months to reach term and deliver.
Altarescu’s lab team consists of Sharon Zeligson, Dr. David Ze’evi, Rachel Be’eri, and Prof.
Talia Eldar-Geva, who are performing two or three more procedures every week. “It’s a very promising new technology that can help many infertile couples,” she concluded.