In order for a human embryo to develop into a viable, healthy pregnancy it needs to be “competent” (capable, upon being transferred to the uterus, of propagating a viable pregnancy). Currently, the most reliable determinant of such embryo “competence” is the measurement of the number of chromosomes in the embryo’s cells (i.e., its karyotype). An embryo whose cells have all 46 chromosomes intact, is seen as a requirement and therefore deemed to be one that is most likely to be “competent”.
It is in large part the egg, rather than the sperm, that determines embryo “competency” which rapidly declines with the woman’s advancing age. Women who elect to cryopreserve (bank) their eggs for Fertility Preservation (FP) should be encouraged to begin the process of egg retrieval at their earliest convenience, sooner rather than later. The goal should be to bank as many eggs as possible (ideally 12-20) to increase the chance of having a viable pregnancy in the future. This will often require a commitment to undergo more than one egg retrieval procedure, improving the chances of success for older women and those with a diminished ovarian reserve (who frequently produce fewer eggs per cycle).
While it is possible to perform biopsies for karyotyping eggs, this involves an invasive and sometimes hazardous process that can compromise egg quality. Moreover, this option is not readily available in the non-research setting.
In the past, the assessment of egg quality has relied upon subjective, arbitrary, and relatively unreliable microscopic criteria. Currently, there is no validated visual egg scoring system in clinical use (ALPHA 2011), and thus no ability to assess the quality of eggs being used (IVF) or being frozen (FP) for future use. What is sorely needed is a non-invasive and reliable digital, automated, scoring system that would reliably express an egg’s quality or its reproductive potential.
The recent introduction of Violet™— a new tool developed by futurefertility.com achieves this goal, offering new scientific insight and transparency about the quality of frozen eggs. It is a is a non-invasive, Artificial Intelligence (AI-based) software that assesses images of a patient’s eggs to predict the chances of each egg successfully fertilizing and reaching the blastocyst stage.
Violet™ has been shown to be superior in accuracy to the human eye of trained senior embryologists by more than 20%. It predicts which eggs will successfully fertilize with about 90% accuracy and the likelihood of subsequent embryo development with approximately 63% accuracy in a non-invasive, instantaneous, and reproducible manner (ESHRE, 2020; Fertility 2021).
Sher Fertility Solutions (SFS)-New York has been selected as the first IVF center in NYC to offer Violet™ technology to their social egg freezing/Fertility Preservation (FP) patients. Clients undergoing egg freezing will receive a complete report that includes an analysis of the quality of each egg, its fertilization potential, and the likelihood that upon being fertilized, it will subsequently develop into a “competent” blastocyst. “We believe that implementation of Violet™ will change the egg freezing paradigm for our patients.” says Drs Drew Tortoriello and Drs Geoffrey Sher of SFS-NY.
Future Fertility is currently working on applying a different version of Violet™ to assess the egg quality for patients undergoing regular IVF treatment. The image analysis technology will be similar (non-invasive, instantaneous, and objective). However, the information will be tailored specifically to the needs of IVF patients, providing an actual score of their eggs as a measure of egg quality.
If you have questions about Violet™ and how this technology could help you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.