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First baby due in new IVF technique

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The first baby to be conceived using a breakthrough IVF technique will be born in Scotland next month, a clinic has said.

The embryo was chosen using the cutting-edge early embryo viability assessment (Eeva) test at the Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine.

The clinic is the first in Scotland, and only the second in Europe, to adopt the test - developed at Stanford University in the US - and make it available to patients.

Doctors believe the baby, due in June, selected as an embryo using the Eeva system, will be the first in the world to be born as a result of using the technique.

The clinic’s medical director Dr Marco Gaudoin described Eeva as “probably the most important development in IVF in the past five years”.

Eeva uses time-lapse imaging to monitor embryos while they are being incubated, and then uses computer software to select those at low risk of defects.

In standard IVF, embryos are removed from the incubator once a day to be checked under the microscope.

The Eeva system is similar to time-lapse imaging used by other fertility clinics, but it produces images every five minutes as opposed to every 10 to 20 minutes and the results are analysed by computer rather than a clinician.

Dr Gaudoin said Eeva is the “the next generation” of time-lapse imaging.

He said: “It is probably the most important development in IVF in the past five years. The use of computer software makes the process more efficient and more objective, and that is certainly a huge advance.”

It is hoped the use of the test will increase the chances of success for women undergoing IVF.

Dr Gaudoin said: “Certainly the data from the embryoscope imaging is promising, but we haven’t had (the test) for long so we can’t say for definite at this stage.

“Some people would argue that this (promising data) is because the embryos are not taken out of the controlled environment of the incubator, but it has to have a benefit.”

But the test comes at a price for patients who pay £850 extra on top of the £4,000 cost of IVF treatment.

“Eeva is great and it can do fantastic things but it cannot turn a poor embryo into a good one,” Dr Gaudoin said.

“It can give you answers that you don’t want to hear but often this can at least provide couples with closure.”

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