ADVANCES IN FERTILITY TECH
In today’s world, technological advances seemingly occur on a daily basis, with updates to smart phones, gaming toys, and stereo-systems regularly adorning the media headlines.
However, as our nation continues to become more and more health conscious, the development of technology within the medical sector has also started to trend and capture consumers’ attention.
Honing in on the fertility sector in particular – this industry is advancing at a rapid rate with more couples and individuals looking to assisted reproduction treatments to help aid their chances of becoming parents.
To stay ahead of the curve, and ensure that patients have the highest chance of achieving their pregnancy goals, industry leaders across the globe are now turning their attentions to ‘fertility tech’ in order to enhance treatment techniques, and offer patients the best experience possible.
Institut Marquès, is one internationally leading clinic which is leading the way with trail-blazing fertility tech. In recent years, the clinic has found new ways to leverage technology in order to support their patients and remain pioneers within the realm of assisted fertility. Below we detail two examples of this pioneering work:
Assisted reproduction treatments, such as IVF, can naturally cause stress for patients, particularly when they are waiting for their embryos to develop pre-implantation. In response to this global issue, Institut Marquès have created a pioneering new mobile application called Embryomobile, which can improve the well-being of future parents during the assisted reproduction process, and help them to establish an emotional relationship with their future child.
Embryomobile allows patients to observe the evolution of their embryos from the comfort of their own home, while they are being fertilised in an Embryoscope (a high-technology incubator with an incorporated video camera that films their development).
More than 3,000 of Institut Marques’ patients to date have already used the app, on average connecting up to four times daily to check the development of their embryos.
Last year, Institut Marquès presented results from a study of patients trialing Embryomobile at the annual European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) conference in Geneva. The study, which interviewed 400 Institut Marquès patients after they used Embryomobile, found that 91 per cent of the patients who used the app felt it helped them to feel calmer during the IVF process.
According to Institut Marquès, 51 per cent patients involved in the study, when offered the opportunity, chose to select the embryo they felt would provide the best chance of pregnancy. Of this group, 74 per cent correctly identified the most viable embryo to transfer or vitrify.
Dr. Federica Moffa, a leading Gynaecologist at Institut Marquès, comments:
“The Embryomobile app has gone down very well with our patients, as it allows them to get much more involved in the IVF process and helps them to establish an emotional relationship with their future child. The new app offers patients direct insight into what’s happening in the lab, from the comfort of their own home. An example of transparency in our way of working“
Institut Marquès has also developed a world pioneering innovation project to improve fertilisation by incorporating music in all embryos incubators.
In 2013, experts from the clinic presented an award-winning research study revealing that eggs which were cultivated with music had an improved fertilisation rate of around 5%. Following this research, Institut Marques also discovered that foetuses can hear from as early as 16 weeks - as long as the sound comes to them from the mother’s vagina.
Off the back of this ground-breaking research, the clinic invested in the launch of a new technology product for consumers called Babypod - a speaker which is inserted into the vagina and connects to a mobile phone, so that mothers can communicate with foetuses by playing music.
Foetuses can barely hear noise outside the womb, yet the Babypod has proven that the foetal ability to hear starts when the foetus measures just 11cm (equivalent to 16 weeks). Foetuses responds just like babies, with speech and movements because they are learning to communicate. By playing music to the foetus, it can be neurologically stimulated which is hugely beneficial for language development.
Dr. Marisa López-Teijón, Director of Institut Marquès, explains:
“Institut Marquès is carrying out state-of-the-art research on how music impacts the embryonic and foetal development.
We have improved in vitro fertilization by applying musical vibrations inside the incubators in all our fertility clinics. By inserting a speaker in the vagina of thousands of patients for the first time we have been able to communicate with the foetus. To achieve this we have created the Babypod. This is an FDA approved vaginal speaker that connects to the mobile phone. Thanks to the Babypod, we have discovered how foetal hearing works: foetuses can barely hear noise outside the womb. The foetal ability to hear starts when the foetus only measures 4 inches or 11cm. Until now medical literature could only confirm that fetuses heard from week 26 onwards. Foetuses responds just like babies, with speech and movements because they are learning to communicate. The myth of talking to your belly is over.“