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Test helps predict outcome of IVF

Women may soon be able to find out their chances of becoming pregnant from using fertility treatment, it has been announced.

Researchers from the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin have discovered genetic markers in blood which provide a fertility "fingerprint".

They found that women whose IVF treatment succeeded showed different activity patterns in more than 200 genes than those whose treatment had failed.

Scientists believe it could be possible to design a simple blood test that may predict the likelihood of success, although they admit research is at an early stage.

Study leader, Dr Cathy Allen, said: "There does seem to be a particular signature that goes with early human pregnancy."

She said that the test could help women with a history of IVF failure to decide whether or not to press on with treatment.

The test relies on microchip technology that uses a credit card-sized device to probe the activity levels of more than 30,000 genes.

Gene activity can be measured by reading different patterns in a molecule called messenger RNA that relays genetic code instructions.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Rotunda Hospital

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"Good news and I am sure will prove effective in future developments in this specialised area; however, it is not without its dangers of affecting the hope of some infertile women" - V Henry, London