Genetic test will lead to increase in IVF births
Genetic screening could be offered to all couples undergoing IVF in future, a development that could see pregnancy rates rise by half.
Scientists have announced the birth of the first baby using a new, cheaper genome sequencing technique which could, they say, "revolutionise" fertility treatment.
Fewer than a third of embryos chosen by standard IVF treatment lead to pregnancy.
Research has previously found that genetic screening to select healthy embryos over those with abnormal chromosomes can significantly increase the chances of success.
Scientists believe the new technique, which offers a definitive result within 24 hours, could further improve implantation rates, and that its cost, potentially just half of other genetic screening methods, could see it used routinely.
The findings, being presented today at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual meeting in London, were described by independent experts as crossing "an exciting frontier" in the science of IVF.
The first baby was born seven weeks ago in Philadelphia using the technique. Marybeth Scheidts (36) and her husband David (41) were the first to try the new method as part of a research trial.
The technique, known as next-generation sequencing (NGS), uses computer software to search for serious gene defects and key sequences of DNA that indicate abnormalities.
Because of its speed and efficiency, NGS has the potential to reduce by at least a third the cost of embryo screening. (© Daily Telegraph, London)