The beginning of a year is always a time for reflection on the achievements of the past year and an opportunity to look forward to what the coming year may bring. And for the newly formed Genomics Division here at Vitrolife, 2019 was certainly a busy time that has flown by. The team was well represented at all of the main reproductive genetics and IVF annual meetings including Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis International Society (PGDIS) meeting in Geneva and Controversies in Preconception, Preimplantation and Prenatal Genetics (CoGen) in Paris. At ESHRE in Vienna, Genomics was represented on the Vitrolife stand, which was a great opportunity to meet customers face-to-face, but equally important for us, to get to know all of our colleagues in other areas! There was a well-attended lunch time symposium at which I represented genomics and, in the evening, I had a lot of fun giving the after-dinner talk reminiscing on 30 plus years of my involvement in the field, since we published the first clinical pregnancies following preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD, as it was known then, for a range of X-linked inherited diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
It is with great sadness that Vitrolife posts this memoriam for Prof Michelle Lane, who passed away last week.
What do you as an IVF professional look for when setting up an entirely new clinic and laboratory? For the laboratory manager, Helle Bendtsen at Aleris-Hamlet Fertility in Copenhagen, the advantage of having one supplier for all of their procedures in the laboratory was clear quite quickly: ‘When setting up the clinic we received great support from Vitrolife in terms of selecting all the products for the entire IVF procedure. From oocyte retrieval all the way to vitrification and transfer’, she says and adds: ‘Previously I’ve worked with products from several different suppliers, but now I can truly see the benefits with having all our products from Vitrolife.’
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – this old proverb is embraced and applied by medical device manufacturers all around the world, but why is that?
The answer to that question starts with the fact that most countries’ health authorities require medical device manufacturers to provide product information to the users in their local language. This is a not a problem for manufacturers who produce and distribute big volume products where an entire batch will be sold in only one country. They simply produce batches dedicated to the specific country with product information in that local language.
Blastocyst grading is known to be highly subjective and without the use of time-lapse can result in an incorrect evaluation of collapsed or partially collapsed blastocysts. Artificial intelligence has the potential to make processes in IVF more precise, consistent and efficient in the future. This paper1 describes how deep learning (a subset of artificial intelligence) was used to design an algorithm to enable fully automatic grading of ICM and TE quality from time-lapse images. A similar approach has been used to estimate morphokinetic timings and PN count.
For most people, amino acids are synonymous with protein and DNA synthesis and their ability to act as substrates for energy production, and relatively little else. Over the past two decades however we have developed a very different appreciation for amino acids and the highly diverse roles they play in regulating embryo physiology. Here their functions (beyond body building!) are considered, and how their supplementation to embryo culture media has contributed significantly to the increase in IVF success rates worldwide.
This year Philadelphia hosted the annual American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting for thousands of delegates from all over the world. Similar to previous years, IVF professionals gathered to present or listen to the latest scientific developments in the field of assisted reproduction. We have collected some of our thoughts and reflections of the scientific content of the meeting in this blog post.
Different assisted fertilisation methods were developed and implemented in the field of IVF during 1980-1990. Out of these methods, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is the most successful method developed1 and is considered to be one of the major breakthroughs in this field since the birth of Louise Brown in 1978. While assisted fertilisation techniques, including ICSI, were introduced to overcome fertilisation failure in cases of severe male infertility, ICSI is today used in > 60 % of all IVF cycles globally.2
ICSI has frequently been described as 'an accident' in the lab. For me, being part of the development of the ICSI technique, I would rather describe ICSI as an inevitable consequence of the procedure used to perform subzonal insemination. The aim of this blog is, however, not to cover the history of ICSI but rather to focus on aspects that support successful ICSI in the IVF laboratory.
Having a laser system can help address a variety of cases in ART while optimising the workflow. It is, therefore, common today for embryology laboratories to have a laser system attached to the microscope at the ICSI workplace.
You are probably already familiar with the use of lasers for assisted hatching or embryo biopsy, since these are the most widely spread applications. There are, however, other ways in which you and your patients can benefit from the use of a laser system in the lab.
Once again, the biggest event in the field of assisted reproduction, ESHRE, has taken place. No less than 12.003 participants gathered in warm Vienna for updates on the latest science within the field of IVF and of course to meet with old and new friends. As usual the Vitrolife team has put together our thoughts and reflections on some of the scientific content at the meeting. We also provide a new chance to watch our symposium.