METABOLOMICS: Embryos Check – up in the Assisted Reproduction Unit of MITERA

Metabolomics method that is currently applied in the Assisted Reproduction Unit of MITERA Hospital is an emerging tool for the selection of healthier embryos in order to increase the chances for a pregnancy.

The particular method employs a non-invasive technology that can be performed within two minutes. The goal of the technology is to identify metabolic differences in viable versus non-viable embryos.  This way only the highest quality embryos are to be selected for transfer in IVF.

The Director of the MITERA Assisted Reproduction Unit, Dr. Giles Palmer, stated that “Through the Metabolomics method i.e. the construction of the embryos metabolite profile, we can predict if an embryo will give a pregnancy or not in 85% of the cases examined”.

When discussing the method’s details, Dr. Palmer emphasized that “By studying the small-molecule metabolite by-products left behind from cellular processes we can obtain a snapshot of the embryo’s physiology that is related with its health condition. We then can select the healthier embryo for embryo transfer in IVF, increasing thus, the chances of pregnancy on a quick, easy and effective way”.

More than 10,000 IVF cycles are performed every year in Greece.

Until this day, the embryo morphology and quality were exclusively assessed through a microscopic examination. Moreover, due to the legislative framework of many European countries that sets specific limit values in regard to the number of eggs that can be fertilized or embryos to be transferred, the selection of a minimum number or even of only one embryo with increased potential for a healthy pregnancy was the usual practice. As a result, the need for selection of the most suitable embryo was even more imperative.

Dr. Palmer emphasized that “The greatest risk in IVF is multiple pregnancy. Metabolomics can increase the viability rate of a healthy embryo, leading to the transfer of fewer embryos in order to avoid multiple pregnancies. Our goal is to further assist couples with infertility problems to give birth to a healthy child.”