Life Whisperer, the fertility arm of AI healthcare company Presagen, has made a significant breakthrough in using artificial intelligence to non-invasively help embryologists rank and select genetically healthy embryos in IVF.
Currently, PGT-A genetic testing requires a portion of a healthy embryo to be removed and sent away for testing. The procedure is invasive, costly, and potentially risky.
Founder and CEO of Presagen, Dr Michelle Perugini said “Some future parents are just not comfortable with the thought of having to biopsy their embryo, which may ultimately become their baby. PGT-A testing is conducted because evidence suggests genetically healthy embryos can increase pregnancy success and reduce miscarriage for IVF patients who are desperate for children.”
Presagen’s new AI product, Life Whisperer Genetics, requires only camera images of embryos to assess their genetic integrity. The AI assesses the physical morphology of the embryo from the images to determine if the embryo is likely to be genetically normal (euploid), with the correct number of chromosomes.
The AI was tested in a study where one thousand patient embryo images were randomly assigned into groups simulating 91,500 individual patient cohorts. Of the 1000 embryos, approximately 40% were genetically abnormal (aneuploid) according to PGT-A test results.
Life Whisperer Genetics was used to rank the embryos in each patient cohort to prioritize genetically normal embryos. In the study, the top-ranked embryo was genetically normal in 82% of the patient cohorts. Furthermore, 96% of the cohorts had at least one genetically normal embryo in the top two ranked embryos.
Dr Jonathan Hall, Presagen’s Co-Founder and Chief Scientist said “Life Whisperer Genetics can further improve embryo selection when used in conjunction with Presagen’s flagship product, Life Whisperer Viability, which uses AI to rank embryos based on their likelihood of leading to a pregnancy. Life Whisperer Viability is already available in two thirds of the world’s IVF market. We anticipate Life Whisperer Genetics to be available in April pending regulatory approvals in each country, so that we can continue to improve the reliability of embryo selection in IVF for couples wanting to have children.”
The AI was developed in collaboration with IVF clinics globally, using Presagen’s AI Open Projects platform which has been described as ‘The Social Network for Healthcare’. The platform connects a global network of clinics and their medical data needed to build scalable AI healthcare products, and in return clinics receive royalties. Key partners in IVF include Ovation Fertility in the USA, No.1 Fertility in Australia, and Alpha Fertility in Malaysia.
Ovation Fertility’s Vice President of Scientific Advancement Dr Matthew “Tex” VerMilyea said: “We are very excited about this new product. Life Whisperer Genetics provides a great alternative for patients who are not comfortable with PGT-A or those that live in countries where PGT-A is not readily available or too expensive. Here in the USA where PGT-A testing is common, Life Whisperer Genetics would provide the opportunity to pre-screen and only test the healthiest and most viable embryos, reducing costs for our patients.”
Presagen plans to build additional healthcare products, both in IVF and beyond, initially focusing on women’s health. The next two planned products include oocyte assessment for IVF, and early detection of endometriosis.
Dr Michelle Perugini said “Our initial focus is on women’s health. It is an under-served market, even though it represents half of the world’s population. More broadly, our vision is to connect the largest network of clinics and medical data globally on our platform to build unbiased, scalable, accessible, and affordable AI-enabled products to improve healthcare outcomes for patients globally.”