Artificial intelligence technology may help improve IVF outcomes

Artificial intelligence technology may help improve IVF outcomes
Published: May. 21, 2023 at 7:31 PM EDT|Updated: May. 21, 2023 at 9:38 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Data from the World Health Organization says 1 in 6 people struggle with infertility globally.

One Atlanta doctor is taking a futuristic approach, involving artificial intelligence, to help treat a longstanding problem.

“It just helps to give me another option,” says Charis Chambers.

She is in the process of planning her fall wedding, and she’s also planning for their future family. As an OBGYN completing her medical residency, she chose to freeze her eggs through IVF, or in vitro fertilization.

“You want to go to that practice that’s thinking outside of the box,” Chambers says. “I think AI [artificial intelligence] is just one of those ways we can do that.”

That is why she sought out Dr. Karenne Fru. She is an infertility and reproductive endocrinologist and Medical Director of OMA Fertility in Buckhead.

“We now employ artificial intelligence with robotics in the lab to improve embryo quality,” Dr. Fru says.

She says they are going about combatting infertility with innovation.

“If you can select the best sperm to then inject into each mature egg, that equals higher fertilization rates,” Dr. Fru explains.

To do that, they use a robot called the Sperm InSight.

It marks and tracks each sperm as it is moving throughout the sample. Your eyes do not have to do the work so you are chasing down the sperm,” she says. “The work is automated and done for you.”

Dr. Fru notes this does not replace the embryologist. Rather, it is a tool to help them do their job.

“We think this is the next thing that needs to happen. The more efficiencies we can build into the system, the better. If we can get patients pregnant in fewer cycles, that is the goal,” says. Dr. Fru.

According to the findings of a recent study in The Lancet medical journal regarding AI in IVF:

“The software outperformed 15 embryologists from five different centers across the United States in detecting which embryos were most likely to implant out of a group of high-quality embryos with few visible differences.”

“Artificial intelligence has many potential applications to support expert clinical decision-making. Systems like these could improve success, reduce errors and lead to faster, cheaper, and more accessible results. Beyond immediate IVF applications, this system could also be used in research and industry to help understand differences in embryo quality.”

They say it can help with cost in the long run, because it can prevent couples from having to do multiple cycles. Just one round can cost an average of $20,000.

“There’s nothing that’s guaranteed when it comes to fertility, and I think that’s important to be aware of,” Chambers says. “But at the very least, I know I did what I could.”