March 10, 2009 - A new study to be published in an upcoming issue of the
prestigious medical journal Human Reproduction  shows that Anecova’s
in vivo embryo culture system significantly improves the number of good
quality embryos produced in the context of Assisted Reproductive
Technology (ART). Embryo quality is widely recognized as a factor directly
influencing the ultimate success rate of ART.
“These preliminary results are very encouraging,” commented, in a joint
statement, the 3 authors of the study: Dr Christophe Blockeel (CRG, UZ Brussel),
Dr Pascal Mock (Inventor of this novel concept, IVF Specialist, Geneva) and Dr
Greta Verheyen (CRG, UZ Brussel). “Not only this procedure appears to be
feasible and safe, but it also led to improvements in terms of embryo quality”.
“If confirmed by larger studies which are currently ongoing in several European
Centers, this system could initiate a paradigm shift in the entire field of
Reproductive Medicine” added Dr Carlos Simon (IVI Valencia), Chairman of the
Scientific Advisory Board for Anecova.
Currently, the in vitro Fertilisations (IVF) procedure involves retrieving eggs from
the ovaries and fertilising them in vitro, followed by a culture period in the IVF
laboratory for 2-5 days. One or more embryos, selected on the basis of their
morphological quality, are afterwards transferred in the maternal womb for the
completion of gestation. As nearly one in ten couples, or more than 70 million
people throughout the world, are affected by fertility issues, improving assisted
reproductive technology is a major challenge.
The study reports that eggs collected from 13 patients undergoing IVF treatment
were randomly assigned to either in vivo or conventional in vitro culture. In the in
vivo arm, fertilization and embryo development led to improved embryo quality
with a significantly higher proportion of normal embryos than in the conventional
in vitro culture. Three healthy children were born; two with an embryo from the in
vivo arm, and one with an embryo from the in vitro arm.
A major advantage of the leading-edge technique developed by the Swiss
biotech company Anecova, within a partnership with the Ecole Polytechnique
Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is that it constitutes a return to a procedure which
is much closer to the natural process. Anecova’s system involves the introduction of microinjected human eggs into a retrievable and permeable capsule which
allows optimal exchange between the uterine maternal environment and the
Thus, fertilization and embryonic development take place in vivo (within the in
vivo culture system in the future mother's uterus) rather than in vitro (in a test
tube in a laboratory). The early stage embryos start their life in close
communication with the maternal environment, recreating the two-way exchange
of fluids and factors found in the natural development of embryos, improving the
overall quality of the embryos.
“Anecova will strive to improve the overall quality of care in ART by enabling the
use of more physiologic and natural medical solutions for couples with
conception difficulties”, said Martin Velasco, Chairman of the Board at Anecova
 An in vivo culture system for human embryos using an encapsulation
technology: a pilot study. Human Reproduction. Published online on March 10
under advance access. doi:10.1093/humrep/dep005.
About the Brussels’ Centre for Reproductive Medicine (www.brusselsivf.be)
The 'Centrum voor Reproductieve Geneeskunde' (CRG) from the Universitair
Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel, Belgium) is a specialized centre in Reproductive
Health. Since 1983 it has led groundbreaking work in the development of
assisted reproductive techniques and novel clinical practices.
About IVI (www.ivi.es)
The Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad (IVI) came into being in 1990 as the first
medical institution in Spain wholly specialized in human reproduction. IVI is at the
forefront of Reproductive Medicine, and has opened several centers in Spain,
Europe and South America.
About EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) (www.epfl.ch)
EPFL is one of Switzerland’s two Federal Institutes of Technology. It offers
complete study courses in Engineering, Basic Sciences, Architecture, Life
science and Management. In addition to excellence in education and research,
EPFL has a strong commitment to technology transfer and the Science Park on
campus is home to more than 100 enterprises and numerous investors.
With its three missions – education, research and technology transfer at the
highest international level – EPFL stimulates collaboration between students,
professors, researchers and entrepreneurs.
About Human Reproduction journal (www.eshre.com)
Human Reproduction is a monthly journal of the European Society of Human
Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), and is published by Oxford Journals, a
division of Oxford University Press.
Please acknowledge Human Reproduction as a source in any articles.
About Anecova (www.anecova.com)
Anecova was created in 2004 by Martin Velasco and Dr Pascal Mock. Anecova
is working with world leading scientists and clinicians in the area of ART with the
objective of developing more natural approaches. The company is ISO certified
(9001 and 13485), obtained the European Certification (CE Mark) in 2007 for the
Anecova-d1 device and expects to start commercialization in Europe by the first
half of 2010. Anecova was granted the Technology Pioneer award in 2008 at the
World Economic Forum.