Improved culture medium for IVF now available in Australia

Tuesday, 31 October, 2017

Improved culture medium for IVF now available in Australia

Fertility group Genea has announced an updated version of its culture medium Gems, which is claimed to result in more high-grade embryos per IVF cycle than traditional products.

Culture medium, the vital solution that supports embryo development outside the body, has traditionally needed to be replaced at different stages: firstly to support fertilisation, then when there is division of cells in the early embryo. Finally, it is replaced again when used for the blastocyst, the ball of cells developed by day five when the embryo is ready for transfer into the uterus. Additionally, at each point of development scientists spend time reviewing the embryos out of the incubator, exposing them to unfavourable elements.

Now Genea has developed a continuous culture Geri medium, a universal liquid that is suitable for every stage of embryo development, eliminating the need to change the solution and enabling undisturbed embryo growth. It has been developed for use with the company’s Geri time lapse incubator, another recent innovation.

Traditionally, IVF clinics have used incubators that have more than one patient’s embryos in a single chamber with no time lapse camera, meaning the incubator had to be opened every time one patient’s embryo needed checking and/or when the medium needed to be changed.

Geri, Genea’s benchtop incubator, with individually controlled incubation chambers per patient and a time lapse camera, gives scientists continuous monitoring of embryos, which eliminates the need to open the incubator to check on embryo development.

“Other time lapse incubators on the market have multiple patients in the one space, meaning even if they had a single-step media, embryos would still need to be disturbed when scientists check other patients’ embryos,” said Genea Scientific Director Steve McArthur.

Initial data from Genea’s lab culture system is showing encouraging results thanks to the significant drop in the need for embryo disturbance, with a study performed at Genea’s Sydney CBD laboratory finding that the use of the Gems/Geri combination saw an increase of 46.7% in the number of high-grade embryos per cycle when compared to the traditional incubator and culture medium system. These figures have undergone a peer review process and were presented at the Fertility Society of Australia Conference in Adelaide earlier this month.

“It’s fair to say that if a patient has more viable embryos for transfer or freeze, it’s likely we will make more babies per egg collection — and it’s the egg collection, with the injections, day surgery procedure and cost that is the greatest impost to the woman,” said Genea’s medical director, Associate Professor Mark Bowman. “In contrast, the subsequent use of frozen embryos is simple, often drug-free and not so expensive.”

Genea’s scientific director, Steve McArthur, revealed that the culture media and incubator will be available to Genea patients in Australia at no extra cost. Patients seeking help with fertility are thus encouraged to speak with a Genea fertility advisor about how the product combination can maximise their potential for having a baby.

Image credit: © Sukharevskyi

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