24 May 2019

Innovative Artificial Intelligence tool pioneered by Australian scientists to increase success rates in IVF pregnancies gains international interest

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Melbourne IVF

International medical and scientific community interest is growing in the innovative Australian technology which uses artificial intelligence to predict the likelihood of an individual IVF embryo leading to a viable pregnancy, with publication of early findings in the world’s leading peer-reviewed journal for fertility health, Human Reproduction.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Artificial Intelligence technology will, in future, be the dominant embryo selection method used in IVF,” said A/Prof Peter Illingworth, Medical Director IVFAustralia, Virtus Health, where Ivy AI was pioneered in collaboration with Harrison.AI.

Evaluation of the technology was conducted in Virtus Health clinics on data obtained from 10,638 embryos. These data were based on embryos cultured in time-lapse incubators from eight different IVF clinics, across four different countries, between January 2014 and December 2018. The findings were originally presented in October 2018 at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Annual Conference and a manuscript published in Human Reproduction today.

“Now with the Ivy AI technology we can take advantage of the ability of AI to process an enormous amount of data, too much for a human to process, to more accurately and objectively predict the best embryo to select for transfer, based on the presence of a fetal heart,” said A/Prof Illingworth.

Previous forms of this technology have shown a good correlation with a skilled embryologist but IVY is the first Artificial Intelligence system to actually predict fetal heart rate outcomes solely from study of the embryonic development.

“The next step is to carry out clinical studies, including a planned randomised trial to better understand the clinical role of this powerful technology and, in particular to find out what contribution, if any, it can make to improving success rates in IVF. This technology has the potential to contribute to IVF medicine by shortening the time to a successful pregnancy and increasing IVF pregnancy rates and while we believe that Ivy AI is the most advanced tool of its kind in human embryology, this still needs further evaluation through a randomised controlled trial.” said A/Prof Peter Illingworth.

“Ivy is a self-improving AI tool that continuously learns from embryos that it analyses. The AI iteratively retrains on powerful supercomputers and has been shown to consistently improve on previous versions of itself in identifying the embryo with the highest potential for a successful pregnancy” said Aengus Tran, Medical AI Director at Harrison.AI. “As with many other areas of medicine, this is a demonstration of the potential for artificial intelligence to make an enormous contribution to human health.”

In April, Virtus Health and Harrison.AI announced a collaboration with the Swedish company, Vitrolife, the world’s leader in time lapse incubation systems, to further develop the pioneering system.