About 6.1 million couples in the United and over 150 million worldwide struggle with infertility. An Australian Femtech company with US headquarters in San Francisco announced new technology to help couples get pregnant via artificial intelligence-assisted in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Life Whisperer is the fertility arm of Presagen, a global artificial intelligence company. The company, whose US headquarters is in San Francisco, announced in a press release new women's health technology applying artificial intelligence to the IVF embryo selection process. IVF clinics around the world can add an artificial intelligence platform to help doctors select the healthiest embryos with the best chance of success.
Embryo selection is an important part of the IVF process, where the healthiest embryos are chosen for implantation. The problem is preimplantation genetic testing is expensive and associated with some small degree of risk. Life Whisperer AI technology seeks to change the dynamics.
Life Whisperer Genetics applies artificial intelligence and machine-based learning to help embryologists in IVF embryo selection. Typically, an embryologist evaluates the embryos using subjective criteria through a process called embryo morphology grading.
Life Whisperer Genetics AI technology can identify characteristics not visible to the naked eye and adds objective measures to improve the chance of successful implantation. Published research shows AI embryo selection is at least 25% more accurate than embryologists' grading methods at predicting pregnancy outcomes.
Artificial intelligence does not replace the crucial work of the embryologist. It enhances their ability to select the best candidates by adding a layer of objective evaluation.
Life Whisperer Genetics analyzed over 20,000 globally sourced 2D embryo images with known pregnancy outcomes to develop the AI system. With each new analysis, the system becomes smarter and improves its ability to select the embryos with the best chance of success.
In addition, Life Whisperer Genetics technology can reduce the need for preimplantation genetic testing (PGT-A). Genetically normal embryos have a higher chance of implanting reduce miscarriage. Some couples choose to undergo preimplantation testing where the doctor will biopsy the embryo to allow testing. A genetic sample of a healthy embryo is removed and sent to a lab for genetic evaluation. This step adds cost and a small degree of risk.
CEO Dr. Michelle Perugini believes their product addresses these concerns stating in the press release, "Essentially without biopsying an embryo, we can assess the likelihood of it being genetically normal or genetically abnormal just through using artificial intelligence and the images of the embryos."
Life Whisperer Genetics assesses the genetic integrity of embryos using digital camera images. In a research study, AI detected normal embryos in 82% of the 91,500 simulated patients.
The cloud-based assessment is directly available to IVF couples in an intuitive and easy-to-understand report. These reports help bring IVF patients into the experience, allowing them to see what is happening throughout the process.
Right now, this technology is not FDA-approved for use in the United States. According to the company website, Life Whisperer Genetics is approved for use in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam. The technology helps patients who live in countries where preimplantation is not available or too expensive.
In the US, preimplantation genetic testing is widely used. The high-cost prices many patients out of the IVF option. Expanding AI would cut costs making assisted reproductive opportunities available to many people looking for help growing their families.
Life Whisperer Genetics has applied for approval in Europe, Australia, Canada, India, and SE Asia. The company expects approval in May and is currently pursuing FDA approvals in the United States.
Learn more about how artificial intelligence can improve outcomes for IVF patients through Life Whisperer Genetics in this video.