As part of our work at Carrot Fertility, we’re committed to keeping up with the latest fertility treatment and care trends around the world. That’s why this summer, I virtually attended and shared research at the 37th annual conference hosted by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). ESHRE is a professional society that promotes global research, provides evidence-based guidelines for fertility care and safety, and collaborates with politicians and policymakers throughout Europe. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways from the sessions we attended at ESHRE.
Artificial intelligence may remove the need for cell biopsy in testing embryos
PGT-A is a technique used to test embryos for genetic conditions or chromosomal abnormalities through a cell biopsy. At the conference, researchers discussed using artificial intelligence (AI) incorporated with time-lapse imaging as a future alternative. Using AI could save time, reduce testing costs, and decrease the need to remove cells from the developing embryo. Marcos Meseguer, PhD, from IVIRMA, a global reproductive medicine group, describes this research as “one of the milestones of AI in IVF.” However, he says more research is needed before embryologists can put it into routine practice. These advances would assist embryologists in embryo selection but not replace them — a distinction Carrot also reported on during the ASPIRE conference in June. Carrot will continue to track progress toward faster, simpler, and more effective testing.
Previous infection with COVID-19 does not affect the chance of success in IVF
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 was a big topic of conversation at ESHRE. One study assessed whether the virus that causes COVID-19 affects fertility. Patients going through IVF had baseline hormone measurements taken before starting treatment. Researchers checked hormone levels again following a COVID-19 diagnosis, and, generally, the data showed no variation before and after infection. Results suggest that the virus had not impacted their chance of getting pregnant.
While the study was small, several other studies have shown no negative impact on fertility following a COVID-19 diagnosis or receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. This news is promising for those pursuing fertility treatments during the ongoing pandemic. Carrot continues to support our members throughout the pandemic to ensure they have access to the latest information and resources.
Trends in IVF treatment explain the steady increase in success rates
IVF birth rates in Sweden have increased over the last ten years thanks in part to two techniques: transferring embryos at day five or six and transferring them after freezing. Similar studies also show that the transfer of embryos at day five is associated with higher birth rates compared with transfer on day two. With these improved techniques, patients may need fewer egg collection treatments to get pregnant. Carrot will continue to watch for trends that improve IVF outcomes for patients around the world.
At Carrot, our members are at the core of everything we do. We look forward to putting these insights into action and collaborating with leading global experts to support Carrot members across our 60+ supported countries.