The Eeva™ Test – Giving Embryologists More Confidence for Embryo Selection

Dr. Alan Thornhill, Consultant Clinical Research Scientist, Assisted Conception Unit, Guy’s Hospital, London

Which embryo would the embryologist choose?

embryosOne of these embryos will make a baby. Which embryo is it? Which embryo would the embryologist choose? It’s not an easy choice to make is it? But this is exactly the sort of choice clinical embryologists have to make every day in the IVF laboratory. As many as 50,000 embryos a day may be studied in hundreds of different laboratories worldwide with the goal of selecting those embryos most likely to develop further and result in pregnancy. Until recently, embryologists could only make subjective decisions about which embryo to choose for transfer. Their choices were based on simple observations of basic physical embryonic features and made for only a few seconds each day for up to 5 days . Now, there are new technologies to help embryologists in their evaluation of individual embryos.

These new technologies, based on time-lapse imaging (TLI), provide continuous monitoring of the embryo from a fertilized egg to the blastocyst stage by means of photo-documenting the embryo every few minutes. In the same way that it is very difficult to understand the plot of a movie if you only see a few frames of that movie, the same is true of embryo development. With observations made only once for a few seconds every 24 hours it is easy to miss key developmental milestones or the appearance of abnormal features. TLI has been around for decades in research environments but, until now, it has been challenging to effectively incorporate this technology into the clinical IVF laboratory.

Meet the Early Embryo Viability Assessment™ Test

However, not all new technologies that use time-lapse imaging are created equal – some provide only imaging while others leverage advanced technologies to get to a more complete picture. The Eeva™ (Early Embryo Viability Assessment) Test is one example of a test that utilizes a component of time-lapse imaging but takes it one step further. The Eeva™ Test was developed based on scientific research conducted at Stanford University, in the United States, where researchers discovered a link between cell division timings and the potential of the embryo to continue to grow to blastocyst stage.  Using the discoveries from this research, Eeva’s intelligent software classifies each embryo as “High” or “Low”, where high and low represent the relative likelihood of an embryo reaching the blastocyst stage.  This additional information gives embryologists an additional piece of information to add to their traditional techniques, helping them decide which embryo to select for transfer.

Note: The colored rings shown here are for illustrative purposes only and do not appear in the Eeva™ Test software

Today, while there are several TLI based systems available in laboratories, only Eeva™ uses intelligent software, based on scientific research, to provide embryologists with a predictive categorization helping them focus on the embryos with the highest potential.  Given that, in some laboratories, hundreds of embryos may be monitored on a busy day it makes sense to have automated computer systems in place to help embryologists select embryos using quantitative information.  In combination with current embryo selection techniques, Eeva™ can help the IVF team decide early on for you which of your embryos has the best chance of growing to the blastocyst stage. This new test gives embryologists more confidence in selecting embryos with the highest quality and has the potential to help improve outcomes for patients seeking IVF treatment.

Clinics that offer the Eeva™ Test

The Eeva™ Test is now available to couples in the UK and Ireland at the following IVF clinics: CRM London, GCRM in Glasgow, Hewitt Fertility Centre, Liverpool, Sims IVF in Ireland, and the Wessex Fertility Centre in South Hampton and coming soon to the Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge.

If you would like to speak with an IVF specialist about the Eeva™ test, click here

Disclaimer: The Eeva Test is currently CE Mark Approved. Eeva is currently an Investigational Device in the United States and is limited by United States law to investigational use.