OvoScore Ltd. has specific research interests aimed at improving outcomes in assisted reproduction technologies and the enhancement of quality management systems in infertility treatments.
Quantifying the Developmental Competence of the Mature Oocyte.
The embryo potential is largely determined by the quality and the maturation of the oocyte before fertilisation. Several oocytes are produced during assisted reproduction treatments, but viable pregnancies can best be achieved by the identification and subsequent utilisation of those possessing optimal developmental competency (i.e. the capacity to acquire those characteristics to support pregnancy leading to the birth of a healthy baby). Currently, assisted reproduction technology (ART) suffers from a “high biological wastage”, with less than 10% of the utilised oocytes resulting in live births. This is largely due to the lack of objective parameters to identify competent oocytes at the time of retrieval and prior to insemination. Recognition and quantification of oocyte competency is expected to constitute a major step towards increasing the efficiency of ART through the optimisation of drug choice and dosage, treatment strategies and environmental conditions during gamete and embryo maintenance.
An essential pre-requisite for the identification of competent oocytes is the ability to monitor cells non-destructively. Selection parameters need to be quantifiable and consistent. Moreover, data needs to be acquired in real-time, because oocyte competence is known to diminish with post-ovulatory ageing. OvoScore is developing novel methodological tools and strategies to make these goals a reality.
Assessing cell division in the embryo by time-lapse imaging.
Dynamic, real-time imaging of preimplantation embryo development is a promising new approach to improve ART outcomes, by observing abnormal division events that cannot be detected using conventional static methods. Most of the recent scientific studies using time-lapse technology have shown that the detection of abnormal cleavage events frequently predicts the outcome of embryo development and/or clinical success rates.
OvoScore has many years experience in the use of time-lapse imaging and seeks contact with parties interested in developing further applications using this technology.
Enhancement of quality management models in assisted reproduction treatments
ART is becoming widely used around the world and it is predicted that the growth of the IVF market will likely increase further. To maintain a competitive advantage, clinics must demonstrate to their patients that they have applied the best available quality management practices in their treatment.
OvoScore believes that there is often room for the improvement of ART quality management and offers its support and expertise to clinics engaged in reproductive medicine.