I was recently very moved by a gift from one couple (and close friends) who gave me a signed copy of the new book by my former Professor, Lord Robert Winston. The Book entitled “A child against all odds” accompanies his new BBC series of the same name.
Lord Winston unveils the biology of reproduction, assessing the morality of fertility treatments and genetic engineering intertwined with references from the old testament and modern day experiences.
In the BBC series he states success rates of test tube baby methods remain disappointingly low and more research must be done to raise them, says Lord Winston. Britain's leading fertility expert.
Around one per cent of all births in the UK are the result of IVF treatment and the latest figures show 32,600 women underwent treatment resulting in 11,000 births.
More must be done to understand what is a good quality egg. At present, the ovary of women who undergo IVF is stimulated to make lots of eggs in "a very uncontrolled fashion," he says.
But the eggs are not in the ideal hormonal environment and he believes that an alternative method has to be found to obtain more high quality eggs, based on better understanding of how eggs mature in the ovary.
"I can see in five or ten years time at most, new therapies to produce eggs which are much more likely to be viable and the embryo quality depends on the quality of the egg."
A second approach will be to select healthy embryos to implant. At present there is no reliable way to choose the best quality embryos most likely to create a successful pregnancy, and clinic staff tend to decide which embryos to implant on the basis of crude tests.
In Australia, one team , by sampling of around 20 cells from the very early embryo, before implantation, is hoping a DNA fingerprinting test will select the best embryos. But this is invasive and expensive and Lord Winston believes there will be better methods to select the which embryo to transfer.
If you want a no nonsense view of the fertility world just search for his books on ivf or see his new website.below:
Lets hope for us, living in Greece, that the BBC programme will be aired in this country soon!