The 33-year-old Cork woman is the first in Ireland to give birth following a procedure known as Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) with IVF, according to the Cork Fertility Centre.
Dr John Waterstone, medical director at the centre, said the procedure represented “a significant development that provides real information to couples who have endured the heartbreak of repeated miscarriages, or failed IVF cycles, without getting any answers”.
The procedure involved putting embryos generated during the IVF process through genetic analysis before deciding which ones to implant, Dr Waterstone explained. This was done by removing up to five cells from the embryo which are then sent to Britain for analysis, while the biopsied embryo is put on ice. The UK laboratory can establish whether an embryo has a chromosomal abnormality.
In the case of the woman in question, seven embryos proved unhealthy. One of the remaining two was implanted resulting in a pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Dr Waterstone said PGS significantly increases the chance of having a successful pregnancy after embryo transfer. It also decreases the chance of miscarriage and, considerably reduces the chance of having a baby with a chromosome anomaly.
He said the breakthrough would provide vital information to thousands of couples who have endured multiple miscarriages, or failed IVF treatments.
Miscarriage affects one pregnancy in five and in most cases no explanation is found. However, research indicates that at least 50% of miscarriages are caused by chromosome abnormalities.