Las Vegas Infertility Clinic Develops Non-Invasive Embryo Testing to Improve IVF Success Rates and Reduce Triplet Pregnancies

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Oct. 9 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- As a global leader in the field of infertility treatment and In Vitro Fertilization, the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine(SM)- Las Vegas (SIRM(TM)-LV), has been instrumental in developing new techniques in the field of reproductive medicine that continue to increase success rates for infertile couples while reducing the incidence of high-order multiple pregnancies (triplets or greater).

Using an evaluation system termed the Graduated Embryo Score (GES), Sher Institute physicians have been able to predict at an earlier stage of development which embryos are most likely to result in a pregnancy. This allows the embryos to be transferred to the woman's uterus for implantation after just 3 days of development with the same success rate as embryos that are allowed to develop in the lab until the 5th day or "blastocyst" stage. The GES system was developed and tested by SIRM physicians including Las Vegas Medical Director Jeffrey Fisch, M.D. and relies on a system of visual or "morphological" assessments. While this has improved outcomes for IVF, many embryos that appear normal still do not result in a baby.

The search to better identify genetically normal embryos has led to another SIRM breakthrough: a non-invasive procedure that tests for levels of a specific protein known as Soluble Human Leukocyte Antigen-G (sHLA-G). This protein is secreted by embryos in the early stages of development. Its purpose is to prevent immunologic rejection of the embryo by the mother's body by signaling the maternal immune system that the pregnancy is not a threat to her health. Those embryos that secrete certain levels of the protein are more likely to develop into viable pregnancies. The protein is easily obtained by SIRM embryologists without damaging the embryo in any way.

SIRM physicians have published several studies evaluating the role of sHLA-G on IVF outcome. Recent data presented in July 2006 at the 4th international conference on HLA-G in Paris France by SIRM-Las Vegas Medical Director, Jeffrey Fisch, M.D., demonstrated that embryos with good GES scores which also expressed sHLA-G within a narrow range were more likely to result in a viable pregnancy than those with sHLA-G levels outside the range or with low GES. Among women less than age 37 years, transferring two GES-positive, sHLA-G-positive embryos resulted in a 62% ongoing gestation rate with a twin rate of 46%. Among women 38-42 with two GES-positive, sHLA-G-positive embryos, the pregnancy rate was 30% with a 66% twin rate.

"By combining a morphologic evaluation with a biochemical assessment of embryo competency, the pregnancy rate was significantly higher than in cases using visual assessment only," said Dr. Fisch. "The success rates are so high using this approach that we are now recommending elective single embryo transfer in most women under 38. Even women 38-42 need to be cautious in how many embryos they put back, because the risk of multiple gestation is real."

These breakthroughs hold the potential of a major improvement in IVF success rates for practices using them. The current national average delivery rate is 35-40% per embryo transfer in women under 38.

This research is currently in press for the medical journal Fertility and Sterility and should be in print by the end of the year. The technology is available exclusively though SIRM for treating patients now.

About SIRM
The Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM) are a network of independently owned IVF centers that operate under a shared set of practice standards and a centralized management system. SIRM(TM) physicians have been influential in the development of numerous breakthroughs in the field of reproductive medicine. SIRM offices are located in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County, Sacramento, Dallas, St. Louis, Central Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

Further information about the Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine can be found on the SIRM website at

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REFERENCES: Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine, In Vitro Fertilization, Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine - Las Vegas, SIRM, IVF, Jeffrey Fisch, In Vitro Fertilization, news, press release from Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine - Las Vegas, Oct 9, 2006, Private Practice and Medical Groups, , , , , Las Vegas Infertility Clinic Develops Non-Invasive Embryo Testing to Improve IVF Success Rates and Reduce Triplet Pregnancies