Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey Initiates Study of New Technique to Increase Chances of Successful Pregnancy in IVF

Mar 11, 2003, 00:00 ET from Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey

    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
 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 .

SOURCE Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey