We are delighted to be partnering with Fairtility, the company that “powers IVF through transparent Artificial Intelligence (AI)”.
We interviewed Dr Cristina Hickman, Clinical Embryologist and Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Fairtility. Dr Hickman is hugely knowledgeable and dedicated to her field of embryology and she also lectures at Imperial College London. Dr Hickman took some time out of her schedule to talk with us at HSCF all about AI technology in embryo selection and how this can be used to predict if an embryo will become a baby.
Dr Hickman joined the Fairtility Team at the end of last year. She tells us that she joined the company because she “fell in love with the product.” She adds that, “As embryologists, it is sometimes hard to know which embryo to put back, but now there is an amazing innovation that has come into the field called ‘The Time Lapse Incubator’. This piece of machinery is able to provide information about embryos that had never been seen before. Things we have never seen, we are now able to see.” Dr Hickman tells us that embryologists are now able to customise the treatment of each embryo for the patient, meaning that better care and outcomes are able to be achieved.
Time Lapse Incubator
The Time Lapse Incubator is able to record masses of data, more than even the highest trained embryologist is able to process and use. This information is referred to as, ‘The Big Data’. Because of this, Fairtility created ‘CHLOE’- Cultivating Human Life Optimising Embryos. CHLOE simplifies all of the data and highlights things to the embryologist. Together with the Time Lapse Incubator, CHLOE and embryologists, they are all working together to achieve better outcomes for embryos and patients.
Along with CHLOE, can you predict if an embryo will have successful implantation?
Dr Hickman tells us that together with technology, there are many things that they can do to identify if embryos have abnormalities or behaviours that are not normal. She adds, “Having this advancement in technology means that embryologists can customise and tailor treatment to better suit patients.” Dr Hickman goes on to say, “CHLOE enables us to work out if we need to transfer more embryos for a patient, or if we should we be referring the embryo for genetic diagnostics. In some patients we will be able to see that no extra intervention is necessary as embryos aren’t displaying any misbehaviours. Overall, the treatment that a patient will receive will be so much better, as ultimately, we know so much more.”
Is CHLOE able to assess the quality of just eggs?
“CHLOE is able to assess an eggs viability from zero hours after collection”, states Dr Hickman. However, she also adds that the more information that is collected on the embryo, the better the outcomes. But having information on just the egg from collection is important, particularly in cases where the eggs are being frozen or used for donation. She adds, “It means that we are able to quantify, in real terms, and thus manage a patient’s expectations appropriately.”
Are there any benefits to using AI for egg freezing alone, or is AI with a blastocyst always preferred?
Dr Hickman tell us that, “Historically there is a lot more data and research stored for frozen embryos, compared to just eggs. As a field we’re more comfortable freezing embryos as we know that they have reached the blastocyst stage already. With just eggs, we still have to mix them with sperm and not all of them will develop on to be blastocysts. However, the latest research and publications on egg freezing show that freezing eggs is just as successful in outcome compared to fresh eggs. This gives us a lot of confidence in egg freezing with relation to successful outcomes for pregnancy.”
What does collaborating with HSFC mean to you?
Dr Hickman told us that, “The dedication that all of the team from the Receptionists to the Doctors have at HSFC is paramount. This is a clinic who uses a Time Lapse Incubator and has the technology to maintain the safety of embryos. The team have been so open to this new technology of AI, which shows how innovative the clinic is. It is a pleasure to work with a team that is so dedicated and forward thinking.”
She also adds, “AI is completely revolutionising the way that we’re practising embryology. The way what we’re making medical decisions. It’s here to stay. It is here to improve standards of care. Here to bring more consistency to the care we provide to our patients and ultimately continuous improvement in the treatment offered.”
We’re so glad that we, Harley Street Fertility Clinic, have the latest technology to ensure that we are providing the best care, safety and outcomes for our patients.
We look forward to our September webinar where Dr. Hickman will be talking, in more detail, about the use of AI and its outcomes on IVF pregnancy success rates. “Artificial Intelligence in Embryo Selection” please click on this link.