The news has been reported on July 8 at the annual meeting of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) by Dr Dagan Wells of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Oxford, UK.
According to The Guardian, after standard treatment at a US clinic a Philadelphia couple had 13 in vitro fertilization embryos embryos to choose from. The doctors cultured the embryos for five days, took a few cells from each and sent them to Dr. Wells in Oxford for genetic screening. Tests performed using NGS on a Ion Torrent platform showed that while most of the embryos looked healthy, only three had the right number of chromosomes. Based on the screening results, the US doctors transferred one of the healthy embryos into the mother and left the rest in cold storage. The single embryo implanted, and on 18 May 2013 a healthy boy, named Connor, was born.
Apparently the Oxford team has used NGS for testing for aneuploidy, mutations in the cystic fibrosis gene and mtDNA.
Dr Wells, who led the international research team behind the study, said: "Many of the embryos produced during infertility treatments have no chance of becoming a baby because they carry lethal genetic abnormalities. Next generation sequencing improves our ability to detect these abnormalities and helps us identify the embryos with the best chances of producing a viable pregnancy. Potentially, this should lead to improved IVF success rates and a lower risk of miscarriage".
The abstract of the ESHRE communication can be downloaded here.