First baby conceived with time-lapse imaging IVF born in Glasgow

Dempster family
Image caption The Dempsters were the first couple to conceive using the Eeva technique

It has been announced that a Scottish baby was the first to be conceived using a new IVF technique.

Eva Dempster was born on Tuesday after cutting edge time-lapse embryo imaging was used during the IVF process.

Pictures taken at five-minute intervals helped check development was normal before the fertilised egg was implanted into her mother.

The first baby born through the early embryo viability assessment (Eeva) process was in Liverpool last month.

In that case the baby, a girl, was premature.

Eva's parents, Susan Walker-Dempster and David Dempster, were the first to conceive under the technique in September last year.

They had IVF with the Eeva technique at the Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine (GCRM).

Eeva uses time-lapse imaging to monitor embryos while they are being incubated, and then uses computer software to select the best embryos at low risk of defects.

In standard IVF, embryos are removed from the incubator once a day to be checked under the microscope.

The Eeva system is similar to time-lapse imaging used by other fertility clinics, but it produces images every five minutes as opposed to every 10 to 20 minutes and the results are analysed by computer rather than a clinician.

Medical director at the GCRM, Dr Marco Gaudoin, described Eeva as "probably the most important development in IVF in the past five years".

The Dempsters said their decision to sign up for the new treatment, which was developed at Stanford University in the US, had been quite spur-of-the-moment.

Mrs Walker-Dempster, 35, said: "Our parents knew about the treatment but not many of our other friends and family did.

Image caption A computer uses time-lapsed images to select the best embryos

"They know we used GCRM but they didn't know we were among the first to use Eeva and the significance of the birth in terms of the new programme."

The couple had always planned to call their baby Eva if it was a girl and said she is not named after the new IVF technique.

"It's a total coincidence," added Mrs Walker-Dempster.

"Before I was pregnant, and probably before we even came to GCRM, we spoke about child names and it was Eva for a girl and Max for a boy.

"I like short names and at 20 weeks, when we found out it was a girl, we thought 'There's Eva'. It's significant and nice that it all fits in together but it was always our first choice."

Crucial timing

The GCRM clinic is the first in Scotland, and only the second in Europe, to adopt the technique, which is only available privately and adds about £850 to a £4,000 course of treatment.

It is hoped the use of the test will increase the chances of success for women undergoing IVF.

Image caption Images of the fertilised egg were taken at five minute intervals

Dr Gaudoin said: "Previously we haven't had the technology to tell us when cell divisions happen. Eeva now gives us that ability.

"The embryos never leave the incubator, which in itself is probably a good thing, but a computer takes an image every five minutes, puts together a time-lapse video and the computer determines when the cells divide.

"The timings are crucial and within very set parameters so, if the timings are out with those, it gives the computer an idea that, despite looking good, actually it isn't good because the timings are out."

He added: "Traditionally if you had 12 good-looking embryos, statistically only four of them would be good and an embryologist would have a one in three chance of picking a good embryo.

"With Eeva, what it's giving you is a one in one chance of picking the best embryo, so it's a huge step forward."

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