Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ Receive Top National Award for Ground-Breaking IVF Research

First Study to Show Rapid and Accurate Genetic Selection of Healthiest Embryos Leads to Dramatic Increases in Pregnancy Rates and Lower Multiple Rates

Oct 28, 2010, 12:18 ET from Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ

MORRISTOWN, N.J., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians from Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ have once again earned the top research award, the 2010 General Program Prize, from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.  The study, "A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial Demonstrating Significantly Increased Clinical Pregnancy Rates Following 24-Chromosome Aneuploidy Screening:  Biopsy and Analysis on Day 5 with Fresh Transfer," was led by Richard Scott, M.D. and Nathan Treff, Ph.D.  

William Gibbons, M.D., President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine announced the prize at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Society in Denver, Colorado.  Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ also earned the General Program Prize Paper Award in 2007 for research introducing this novel technology to identify embryos that are chromosomally normal in all 24 chromosomes.  This proprietary, ground-breaking technology was developed by scientists, physicians and embryologists at RMANJ and is currently available to all RMANJ patients and patients of a very select group of programs with whom RMANJ collaborates.

"The principal factor which makes it more difficult to conceive as women progress into their thirties and forties is the dramatic increase in genetic errors," said Dr. Scott.  "The best known example is Down Syndrome (three copies of chromosome 21), but all chromosomes may be involved in errors.  Genetic balance is required to have a healthy infant.  Scientists have searched for almost two decades to develop a technology to reliably identify which embryos are normal and which are genetically abnormal prior to placing them in the woman's uterus in attempt to overcome fertility problems and become pregnant."  

"This novel technology developed at RMANJ is the first and only fully validated system which can reliably evaluate all chromosomes in a small biopsy obtained from an embryo during in vitro development," Dr. Scott added.  "By selecting genetically normal embryos, pregnancy rates were dramatically increased and miscarriage rates were lower."

In a related retrospective evaluation presented with this research, RMANJ has also determined that probability of abnormal pregnancy such as Down or Turner syndrome is dramatically decreased.  "This technology reduces the risk of Down and Turner Syndromes for women in their late thirties and forties to levels lower than women in their early twenties," said Dr. Scott.

"Our goal is one embryo, one healthy baby," said Dr. Scott.  "So, the driving force behind most of our research is to assess reproductive competency to better predict which embryo will most likely produce one healthy baby.  This is the first study of its kind that has shown dramatically improved clinical pregnancy rates with blastocyst biopsy, 24 Chromosome Aneuploidy Screening and fresh embryo transfer.  Though similar screening technologies are being marketed, none have been validated through the critical studies, culminating with a randomized clinical trial, which provides this high level of medical evidence," said Dr. Scott.  

"We believe that this rapid and complete genetic assessment technique will revolutionize embryo selection and eventually facilitate the practical application of single embryo transfer," said Dr. Scott.  "Despite transferring fewer embryos, patients can expect better pregnancy rates, lower miscarriage rates and better obstetrical outcomes, and the near elimination of triplet or higher order pregnancies."

"For twenty years, prior technologies have involved biopsy of the embryo on the 3rd day of development, at the 6-8 cell stage.  Testing required removal of up to 1/6th of the embryo's total volume, risking potential damage to the embryo," said Dr. Scott.   "Also, existing technologies examined less than half of the chromosomes in the embryo, leaving many genetic abnormalities to go undetected."

"Our study involved biopsy of the embryo at the blastocyst stage on the 5th or 6th day of development, when the embryo consists of up to 200 cells," said Dr. Scott.  "We believe this is much safer for the embryo, and provides much more reliable sampling.  Cells are taken only from the portion of the embryo destined to form the placenta, called the trophectoderm.  These cells reveal the same genetic information contained within the cells that will eventually form the fetus.  By sampling only trophectoderm, we leave the fetal cells untouched and safe from potential compromise."

"We have previously shown our 24 chromosome analysis technology to be significantly more reliable than other existing methods," said Dr. Scott.  "However, in the past, it had taken many days to extract this information, requiring us to freeze every embryo for weeks before thaw and use.  Our breakthrough has allowed for this same comprehensive screening to be conducted within hours instead of days, eliminating the need for freezing, potential compromise and needless delay.  This, indeed, is the first technology of its kind that allows for assessment of blastocysts and still enables a fresh embryo transfer."

Patients seeking In Vitro Fertilization who were less than 43 years old and had no more than one prior failed IVF cycle were invited to participate in the research study.  The control group underwent routine care and typical screening methods, whereas the study group underwent biopsy of the blastocyst and Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening on day 5.  "Clinical pregnancy rates in the study group were significantly higher, 92%, than those in the control group, 60%," said Dr. Scott.  "Also, sustained implantation rates were much higher at 75% in the study group compared to 56% in the control group."

In addition, for the second year in a row, RMANJ received the top research award from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).  This research involves evaluating the relationship between which genes are turned on or off in the cells which surround the egg at the time it is removed from the woman's ovary and the ability of the ensuing embryo to implant and become a healthy baby.  This exciting new technology may provide clinicians and embryologists a non-invasive tool which could determine embryo viability without having to remove any cells from the embryo itself.  

Finally, RMANJ also earned the top nursing research award from ASRM for research involving patient education, entitled, "The Effect of Remote Access e-Learning Modules on Clinical Outcomes and Organizational Efficiency."  The clinical team at RMANJ, led by Catherine Bergh, developed this learning methodology to enhance patient education, safety and convenience and ultimately reduce the burden of treatment for couples pursing fertility care.

The fertility experts at Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ have among the highest IVF success rates in the country.  Since 1999, they have helped bring more than 20,000 babies to loving families.  In addition to serving as the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ, the practice has locations in Eatontown, Englewood, Morristown, Somerset, Summit and West Orange.  For more information, please call RMANJ at 973-971-4600, or

SOURCE Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ