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Rocking Embryos Might Boost IVF Success

Hoping to improve pregnancy rates, researchers try to simulate motion of the human body

THURSDAY, Jan. 21, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists say they boosted the success of in vitro fertilization in mice by gently rocking embryos before implanting them into the womb.

No evidence yet proves that the same technique would work with human embryos, but authors of a new study hope it might do just that.

"By making the cells feel more at home, we get better cells, which is key to having better infertility treatment," said study co-author Shu Takayama, an associate professor in the University of Michigan's department of biomedical engineering.

The idea of the research is to mimic the motion that an embryo feels traveling through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Human embryos created with the assistance of in vitro fertilization don't get the benefit of such exposure.

The mouse embryos that underwent the rocking treatment with the help of a specially designed device were healthier after four days and had more cells than those grown in dishes. About 77 percent of them resulted in pregnancies when implanted into female mice, compared to 55 percent of those grown in the petri dishes.

The report was published online in the journal Human Reproduction.

Clinical trials of the rocking device have begun in humans through a company formed by the study authors.

More information

The American Pregnancy Association has more on in vitro fertilization.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, Jan. 18, 2010
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