Nov 20, 2021 - Health

A more automated way to do IVF

Fertilis
Fertilis' new IVF petri dish. Credit: Fertilis

Australian company Fertilis has developed a new petri dish for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) that it says reduces human error and boosts success rates.

Why it matters: As couples increasingly delay childbearing to later in life, the need for effective assisted reproductive technologies like IVF is only expected to grow.

How it works: Standard IVF procedures require technicians to carefully move tiny amounts of cells to different environments in a petri dish, day by day, as the embryo develops before implantation in a mother.

  • Fertilis' new petri dish, which uses 3D-printed micro medical devices, "takes out some of the human handling needed and makes the process of embryo culturing more streamlined," says Jeremy Thompson, an early embryo biologist and the company's co-founder and chief scientific officer.
  • "We have a system where we can flow these fluids through and make these necessary changes at a rate that's consistent with the way that the body works, reducing stress on the embryo," says Marty Gauvin, Fertilis' CEO and co-founder.

By the numbers: Fertilis says its technology can reduce the average number of IVF cycles required to get pregnant by between 30%–40%, which stands to make IVF more affordable and more reliable.

What to watch: Ultimately, Fertilis wants to make IVF even more automated, removing what Thompson calls the "human element" from what is still a very artisan process.

  • The company is partnering with IVF practitioners for clinical trials next year, with plans to make the technology widely available in 2023.
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