We cannot draw any firm conclusions about MRI for the treatment of infertility from the trials conducted by Wells and colleagues. To begin with, it was quite small. And, importantly, there was no control group. We need to directly compare the results of MRI with the results of standard IVF in a similar group of people.
Shovkhrat Mitalipov, an embryobiologist at Oregon Health & Science University who is collaborating with Wells, plans to conduct a larger study with 400 volunteers to get a better idea of how well, if at all, MRI can treat infertility.
Takeaway is ambiguous. The concern is that MRI may not prevent mitochondrial disease and may put babies at risk of severe disease. But if MRI trials on people struggling to conceive can tell us more about how infertility works and how to treat it, it still has great potential.
More from the Tech Review archives
You can read more about the MRI trial and the two return cases, in this article, which was published on Thursday.
Karen Weintraub covered the rise and fall of OvaScience’s Augment technology. Both of these pieces were published in the same month, which gives you some idea of how fast this field is moving.
MRI is also being seen as a way to help trans men use their eggs to have children. One early study suggests that this approach may help produce healthier embryos from eggs, as I reported last year.
Babies born with an MRI technically have three genetic parents. There are other technologies on the horizon that could allow us to create children with four or no genetic parents. I explored what this means for our understanding of parenting in a previous edition of The Checkup.
While fertility clinics are trying to find ways to create healthy embryos for use in IVF, a biotech company is finding ways to create synthetic embryos for research. as my colleague Antonio Regalado reported in August. In case you were wondering, embryos are grown in “mechanical wombs.”