MORRISTOWN, N.J., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMA NJ), a leading fertility center recognized worldwide for its scientific achievements, is beginning a clinical study to test a new technique that may improve pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). The study also aims to reduce miscarriages and inherited disorders in offspring. "This study is one of the first to combine two recent advances in infertility treatment -- preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, and blastocyst transfer -- to increase the chances of successful pregnancy with low multiple births, using the fewest, healthiest embryos," said Richard Scott, MD, a nationally esteemed reproductive endocrinologist, who pioneered and directs the study at RMA NJ. "If results are favorable, we will have discovered an important advance in IVF treatment that will give couples a greater chance to achieve parenthood with the delivery of a genetically healthy baby." In the RMA NJ randomized study, 120 patients under age 38 will undergo IVF to produce multiple eggs, using a fertility medication known as Bravelle(R) (urofollitropin for injection, USP), a highly purified, human-derived follicle-stimulating hormone. The resulting eggs will be collected in a traditional manner and then fertilized in the lab. After three days in the lab, the resulting embryos will be tested with a new state-of-the-art technology, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which tests each embryo for genetic disorders. PGD involves removing one of the approximately eight cells in each embryo and testing it for abnormalities. Only embryos determined to be free of genetic abnormalities are replaced in the uterus. Traditionally, without PGD, a limited number of embryos that appear normal are transferred to the uterus on day three or five following fertilization. In the RMA NJ study, the 120 patients will be randomized into two groups. One group will receive embryos that have been grown in the lab for five days to a "blastocyst" stage. "Blastocyst" is a longer period of development in a unique culture media that provides nutrients for cell development and sustains embryo growth. Only the strongest, most robust embryos survive to this point, so that fewer but stronger embryos are transferred back to the uterus. The second group will use PGD in combination with blastocyst transfer on day five. In both groups, only one or two embryos will be transferred into the uterus. "By combining the advantages of genetic diagnosis and extended blastocyst culture, only those embryos that are most likely to be genetically normal and that have shown the greatest potential for ongoing development will be transferred," said Dr. Scott. "This adds valuable insight into which embryos truly possess the potential to become a healthy baby, and allows only one or two embryos to be transferred. The technique maintains high pregnancy rates while limiting the multiple pregnancy rate." About IVF IVF is a treatment for infertility, where eggs obtained from the woman are fertilized with the partner's sperm in the laboratory. The resulting embryos may be transferred to the uterus where they may implant, resulting in a pregnancy. About Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), PGD is a technique that can be used during IVF to test embryos for genetic disorders prior to their transfer to the uterus. PGD makes it possible for couples or individuals with serious inherited disorders to decrease the risk of having a child who is affected by the same problem. It involves removing a single cell from each embryo under microscopic guidance and analyzing it for the presence of genetic disorders. A diagnosis is obtained within a day or so of the test, and only the unaffected embryos are replaced in the uterus. This technique is controversial. At present, PGD is only offered in a few centers, usually under the supervision of an institutional ethics review board, but its use may become more widespread in the near future. Richard T. Scott, Jr., MD Dr. Richard Scott, a reproductive endocrinologist, is also board certified as an embryologist, andrologist and high complexity clinical laboratory director. He completed his fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at the Jones Institute in Norfolk, VA, after receiving his MD degree from the University of Virginia Medical School. He was Clinical Director of the Reproductive Endocrinology Fellowship Program at the National Institutes of Health, and founded the first IVF program in the federal government. Dr. Scott has received numerous awards for excellence in clinical and laboratory research, and frequently appears on national television. About Reproductive Medicine Associates Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey is a leading, multi-location fertility center run by one of the most respected teams of fertility specialists in the nation. The specialists have received national and international recognition and awards for their contributions toward the advancement of reproductive medicine. For more information about the center or the study, please contact the Clinical Research Coordinator at 973-656-2841 or visit http://www.rmanj.com .
SOURCE Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey