In Vitro Fertilization Can Be Optimized through Lab Testing, Says AACC Presenter
San Diego, CA, July 17, 2007—The world’s first test tube baby, Louise Brown of England, will celebrate her twenty-ninth birthday later this month. Since she came into the world in 1978, the field of fertility medicine has progressed by leaps and bounds to the point where a single sperm can be introduced into an egg with a very fine needle. Assisted reproduction technologies (ART) are now relatively common procedures for couples who can’t conceive by natural methods, and laboratory testing plays an important role in ensuring that fertilization procedures are performed at the optimal time and that fertility drugs are properly dosed.
“Laboratory testing is a critical part of in vitro fertilization,” noted William Roudebush, PhD, Manager for Market Development at Beckman Coulter, Inc., in Chaska, MN. “One of the big expenses in assisted reproduction is the initial treatment with fertility drugs,” he explained, “and laboratory testing allows the doctors to know exactly how much drug they should be using in a particular patient.”
In addition, proper drug dosing can help minimize the chances of higher-order multiple pregnancies, which are much harder to manage and come with greater risks than singleton, twin, or even triplet pregnancies. Those increased risks were clearly illustrated earlier this summer, when a Minnesota couple using fertility treatments lost four of six babies born four-and-a-half months prematurely.
But not only can fertility testing offer guidance in terms of drug delivery, it helps ensure that the timing of embryo transfer occurs when there is the greatest chance for success. “Immunodiagnostic testing lets doctors time a transfer so that embryos are implanted into an optimal environment for development,” said Roudebush, who noted that results of endocrine testing can also broaden the pool of patients eligible for ART. “Some women who previously would have been excluded from ART based solely on maternal age may now be able to take advantage these techniques.”
Dr. Roudebush will be discussing these issues in two limited-capacity sessions on Tuesday, July 17, during AACC’s Annual Meeting at the San Diego Convention Center. The meeting attracts 20,000 physicians, scientists and other professionals interested in laboratory science and medicine. More than 200 educational sessions will present the latest information on a wide range of topics in science and medicine. For more information on AACC, visit www.aacc.org.
Interviews with Dr. Roudebush may be arranged by contacting Brian Ruberry, (619) 525-6227.