One of the major dilemmas surrounding assisted reproductive technologies (ART) is the inability to precisely estimate the reproductive potential of individual embryos. A number of new assessment techniques are currently being developed to address this dilemma, including techniques using genomic, proteomic and metabolomic approaches. Here we describe a metabolomic approach to embryo assessment that has the ability to distinguish specific biomarkers in embryo culture media. This technology assesses modifications of the chemical composition of the embryo's surrounding medium using a rapid Near Infra Red (NIR) spectroscopy approach and generates a value termed the “viability or Via Test-E™ score”. We also report relationships between the algorithm generated Via Test-E™ score and morphology assessment on individual day 2 embryos selected for single embryo transfer and the implantation rates when a cut off score for the viability score is used in relation to implantation. The added armoury of metabolomic profiling by NIR to current morphological assessment techniques might allow a greater discrimination for selection of embryos for transfer and has the potential to improve IVF outcomes. Currently, additional studies are being performed to investigate the true value of metabolomic profiling by NIR spectroscopy.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1