Alpha IVF and Women’s Specialists Centre Kuala Lumpur is working towards improving the chances of conceiving through fertility treatment, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Dr. Colin Lee, the centre’s medical director, says the chances of a successful pregnancy have increased by employing AI in a technique developed to improve embryo selection.
According to the Reproductive BioMedicine Online journal, 2.5 million IVF cycles take place every year, resulting in over 500,000 deliveries. Malaysia has a very high success rate that is comparable with that of some of the most advanced countries in the world and Alpha IVF and Women’s Specialists Centre is one of the premier conception clinics in the country with a success rate of up to 82.9% when it comes to IVF.
Now, Lee hopes to further minimise the occurrence of failed pregnancies by working with Life Whisperer — an Australian start-up that has developed a technology to identify embryos far more successfully than humans by analysing images of them and comparing these with pictures in a vast database. Using machine learning, the technology identifies traits of embryos from around the world that had previously gone on to result in successful pregnancies via IVF. Recent studies have demonstrated an increase in accuracy when it comes to embryo viability assessment compared to the traditional embryologist morphology assessment.
AI has been used in precision medicine for years, especially in learning how to predict clinical outcomes of specific interventions or procedures, thereby improving the outcome. Alpha IVF is among the eight centres that have been part of Life Whisperer’s embryo selection software study since 2019 to improve pregnancy outcomes using embryo images. Of the eight centres in the study, Alpha IVF is the only one that uses embryoscope — a state-of-the-art technology that enables a stable culture environment for embryos.
Having AI improve the IVF process is expected to be a boon for many individuals striving to conceive late in life. While there is no guarantee of a successful pregnancy, the technology does provide a definite advantage. “We are looking at other applications of AI to achieve the ultimate goal of patients coming to see us, which is to have a baby. And, not just a baby but a healthy baby,” says Lee.