Doctor examining pregnant woman with his hands on her stomach
Credit: Wong Yu Liang/Fotolia

Thermo Fisher Scientific this week launched two new next-generation sequencing-based research tools for preimplantation genetic testing-aneuploidy (PGT-A). This type of testing is used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The Ion ReproSeq PGT-A Kit and the Ion AmpliSeq Polyploidy Kit are the first research use reproductive health assays available on the Ion Torrent Genexus Integrated Sequencer.

Thermo says, in a press release, these tools deliver complete workflows from sample to aneuploidy analysis result. They are not for diagnostic purposes.

“Today’s launch brings the benefits of next-generation sequencing to more research labs with the potential of rapid, in-house testing and analysis,” said Garret Hampton, president, clinical next-generation sequencing and oncology at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Approximately 17.5% of the adult population around the world experiences infertilityaccording to the World Health Organization (WHO). As a result, assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as IVF procedures, is growing and has more than doubled over the past decade, according to the CDC.  PGT-A testing identifies chromosomal abnormalities in embryo samples and has become commonplace in IVF and ICSI research to improve care.

In IVF, one or more eggs are removed from a woman’s ovaries, fertilized with sperm in a lab, and then a resulting embryo, or more, is implanted in the uterus. Sometimes, a surrogate is used either for egg donation and/or to carry the fetus. PGT-A is used before transplantation to avoid the use of chromosomally abnormal embryos, improve implantation rates, and speed the progress to a successful pregnancy. This type of screening is also used in ICSI, in which a single healthy sperm is selected, and then injected directly into mature eggs.

PGT-A, is performed by removing and testing trophectoderm cells,  the first cell type that emerges during development,  from the developing blastocyst, typically five to six days after oocyte retrieval.

These new assays from Thermo aim to expand the ability to provide comprehensive PGT-A analysis, and using the ReproSeq PGT-A Kit, researchers can advance research that to increase the success rate for future pregnancies.

“Considering the far-reaching implications for those struggling with infertility, researchers must have reliable and accurate testing available to advance the fertility field and ultimately improve reproductive health for all. We’re committed to delivering comprehensive, complete solutions that can make this type of exploration a reality,” said Hampton.

The Genexus Integrated Sequencer aims to simplify the reproductive health research process with templating, sequencing, and analysis available on one platform. When combined with the optional Ion AmpliSeq Polyploidy Panel kit, researchers working with the ReproSeq PGT-A Kit have access to additional quality control features that detect contamination, prevent sample mix-ups and can identify triploidy in embryos.

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