CHILDLESS couples can increase their chance of having a baby by up to 20pc thanks to a new fertility treatment already in use here.
The HARI (Human Assisted Reproduction Ireland) clinic at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin said yesterday that a new technique known as 'vitrification' can significantly improve chances for couples hoping to have children.
The breakthrough has been made in the system of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which takes eggs from the mother and mixes them with sperm before they are re-implanted.
A number of eggs are taken and frozen for possible later re-use, in a process known as 'slow freezing'.
But the use of vitrification at the Rotunda reduces the risk of the eggs being damaged, because they undergo an ultra-rapid freezing. One couple has already had a successful outcome using the new technique.
"We're delighted to announce the success of this new fertility technique with the report of the first pregnancy in Ireland here at HARI," Dr Edgar Mocanu, fertility specialist at the clinic said.
"We only introduced it in February of this year. We're thrilled for our patients to get a result so quickly."
He added that although the current method of slow freezing offered very good success rates, vitrification has been shown to improve both embryo and egg survival rates by as much as 20pc.
Gerri Emerson, head of Research and Development, said the very first embryo thawed from this method has resulted in a pregnancy.
HARI, the national fertility centre, has been in operation at the Rotunda since 1989.