Dr Wale said growing the embryo within its own consistent environment was probably the most important recent development in IVF technology, noting Geri’s competitor EmbryoScope – a Danish technology used in other Australian clinics – also had a time-lapse camera to minimise disruption.
She said advancement in IVF technology was driven by “very educated” patients who wanted results.
“In an IVF setting, any improvement over the previous data is significant because these small increments in improvement add value to the whole chain of events that determine final success – a live and healthy baby,” said Professor Kuldip Sidhu, a stem cells expert at UNSW.
Genea fertility specialist Dr Cheryl Phua said the Geri incubator more accurately replicated the movement of an embryo through the fallopian tube, prior to implantation.
Previously published research showed an increase in the number of viable embryos available after incubation.
“But this new result isn’t just showing more positive pregnancy tests, where you pee on a stick,” Dr Phu said. “This is babies in arms.”
Audrey Ku, an engineer from St Leonards on Sydney’s north shore, gave birth to her baby daughter Madeleine in September last year, using the new incubator. She turned to IVF after receiving an endometriosis diagnosis, which she knew would substantially impact her fertility.
“I obviously work in a male-dominated industry, but I hadn’t met the right one, and I didn’t want to settle for something I wasn’t happy with to have a child,” she said.
The single mother was 35 when 11 of her eggs were collected and inseminated with sperm from an overseas donor in 2019.
Of these, two made it past five days in the incubator and were flagged for transfer. After the first did not result in pregnancy, a transfer of the other embryo, frozen for six months, was successful.
“It has made my life so much brighter and better, to have her and have completed this dream,” Ms Ku said. She felt any difference to the success rate of IVF was substantial for people using the technology in the hope of becoming a parent.
“Madeleine’s middle name is Kayla, to honour her embryologist,” she added.