The UK’s first baby resulting from an embryo that was screened using next-generation DNA sequencing has been born in Oxford. This method uses a revolutionary IVF technique.
The parents of the child were enrolled in an ongoing clinical study to evaluate next-generation sequencing as a tool to help specialists better select which embryos to transfer during IVF treatment. The technique was first used successfully in the USA in 2013.
- Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is widely expected to replace other techniques used in preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) of embryos, with the goal being to select more reliably which embryos are most likely to implant and produce healthy babies.
- To screen an embryo, doctors remove a few cells at the five-day-old stage. The cells are taken from the tissue around the embryo that will turn into the placenta that attaches it to the mother’s womb. Unlike traditional screening methods, NGS can spot embryos that have more subtle DNA faults, and embryos that have only some cells with chromosomal defects.
- More than half of embryos created through IVF do not have the right number of chromosomes, and the faults underlie nearly three-quarters of miscarriages. The NGS procedure should reduce the chances of couples having faulty embryos transferred and give them more confidence in the health of embryos they have frozen after screening.
- Next-generation sequencing is touted as being more reliable and sensitive than current PGS techniques at detecting aneuploidy. It should also be able to help spot embryos that have other DNA faults and identify mosaic aneuploid embryos.