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Changing the IVF 'beauty contest'

8 July 2013 Last updated at 11:03 BST

A baby has been born in the US using a new method for screening embryos during IVF which could dramatically reduce costs, researchers report.

Connor Levy was born in May after the test, devised at Oxford University, helped doctors pick an embryo with the best chance of success.

Dr Dagan Wells, from the NIHR biomedical research centre at Oxford university, explained the method to Today programme presenter John Humphrys:

"In a typical IVF cycle several embryos are produced, but only about 20% of those will actually have the capacity to make a baby. Now what this test is about and what this particular patient used was a way to try to guide doctors to which of those embryos produced has the best chance of going all the way through and making a baby.

"In most IVF cycles, the way the embryo is chosen for transfer is just based on a kind of beauty contest really; which embryo looks the best," he added.

First broadcast on the Today programme on Monday 8 July 2013.

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