Baby Ebenezer is a happy, healthy 8-week-old – and an IVF success story of a new kind. His entry into the world was aided by artificial intelligence (AI) applied to medical imaging.
As an embryo, Ebenezer was identified within his cohort to be the one most likely to result in a clinical pregnancy, and thus was the first embryo transferred to his mother’s uterus in that cycle. For his parents and their leading Australian IVF clinic, No. 1 Fertility – the first clinic in the world to offer the recently approved technology – this decision resulted in a joyful end to their two-year journey.
While medical advances over the last decade have significantly improved IVF outcomes, they have added to the already substantial, and often prohibitive, cost of treatment. What is remarkable about Life Whisperer is that it is non-invasive, affordable, and requires no additional clinic hardware. As such, it can be universally implemented to offer new hope to the millions of would-be parents globally.
Using the Life Whisperer embryo assessment program, the embryologist uploads a single image of each 5-day-old embryo in the cycle cohort and within minutes receives a score for each one based on its implantation potential. Used as a support tool together with traditional grading, it is approximately 25% more accurate in assessing embryo viability than assessment by embryologist alone. This increase in accuracy results in an average 15% reduction in time to pregnancy.*
Life Whisperer is the first product by AI healthcare company Presagen, located in San Francisco, Adelaide and London, which has a mission to improve women’s health outcomes globally.
Dr Michelle Perugini, Presagen’s CEO said, “We are so overwhelmed with joy to see our world-first Life Whisperer baby born, and the wonderful impact it has had in helping this couple start a family.”
It is a feeling echoed throughout Presagen. Dr Jonathan Hall, Presagen’s Chief Scientist & AI Officer said, “After years of development and testing this technology with IVF clinics globally, it is great to finally see the positive outcomes that AI can have on people’s lives and their health.”
Life Whisperer’s advanced AI program was trained globally on tens of thousands of embryo images matched to their pregnancy outcomes. The beauty of machine learning is that it creates a feedback loop: the more images and outcomes analysed, the more precise the future analyses are. Additionally, the AI recognizes unknown features and complex patterns, the impacts of which on embryo viability are yet to be fully understood.
No. 1 Fertility has already used Life Whisperer to assess more than five thousand embryos; Ebenezer is the first of many more AI babies the clinic will help bring into being. Meanwhile, societies everywhere also may be on the cusp of a baby boom; Life Whisperer is authorized for use in two-thirds of the world’s IVF market, with IVF clinics globally now using it to help their patients conceive.
Said Dr Hall, “For Presagen, this only the start of our journey. We are on a mission to apply AI to improve all aspects of women’s health, both in IVF and beyond, which until now has been under-serviced.”
*Time to pregnancy is calculated as the number of cycles needed to achieve clinical pregnancy based on retrospective ranking analysis.