The primary focus of the Zouves Foundation for Reproductive Medicine is the study of early human development and implantation with the objective to improve the treatment of infertility. We have been aggressively moving toward that end since January of 2016.
For more than two decades the Society for Assisted Reproductive Medicine has recommended the transfer of a single embryo in order to avoid the complications of pregnancy associated with multiple gestations. This has prompted an investigation of methods that would allow us to prioritize embryos with the greatest likelihood of implantation after uterine transfer. The initial method of selecting embryos for transfer was based wholly on morphological criteria that established pregnancies in the low 20-percentile range when a single embryo was transferred. Beginning in the late 1990s, IVF treatment moved toward prioritizing embryos for replacement based upon a 9 chromosome-screening test that predicted embryo chromosome normalcy with an accuracy of approximately 70 %. This technology has continued to advance and today most embryos are prioritized for replacement primarily by assessing their 23 chromosome normalcy and then secondly by their morphology. The pregnancy rate has subsequently improved significantly to approximately 60 % per embryo transferred and the acceptable use of single embryo transfer has now been realized for the first time in the history of IVF. This stunning improvement however, leaves 40 % of embryos that are chromosomally normal and of good morphological quality unaccountably destined for degeneration and implantation failure. The aim of the Zouves Foundation is to identify why this should be so and ultimately advance our embryo implantation rates closer to 100 %.
The Zouves Foundation benefits directly from the precedent set by the Zouves Fertility Center’s investment in promising technologies that improve IVF outcomes for our patients. ZFC was an early adopter of pre-implantation testing (PGT) technologies and is singular amongst United States private IVF clinics in that it retains the expertise and current technologies to offer PGT in-house, and has in fact done so since the early 2000s. As a result, the Zouves Foundation has a unique and immensely valuable resource in the extranumerary frozen embryos donated to research. When we include data on embryo chromosomal profiles and pregnancy outcomes from ZFC, we are confident that Zouves Foundation research is well placed to make significant and valuable contributions to the rapidly burgeoning fields of genetic sciences here in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area.