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Tigra Scientifica Differences in IFV Fluids Might Costly

What comes to mind when you hear “secret recipe”? You may be thinking along the lines of that sweet potato pie your grandmother makes at Thanksgiving, the one that no one else in the family can get quite right. Just like Nana keeping her kick of paprika confidential, in vitro fertilization, or IVF, companies are hoping to take their undisclosed ingredients to the grave as well. Culture media, the fluid that the embryo relies on during its growth period, varies from company to company. These variations are proving to have a costly effect on the resulting babies.
The embryo culture only lasts for three days, however, this time period is critical. An article published earlier this month in Science Daily reports that differences in culture media can have adverse effects through gestation, birth and possibly adulthood. Dr. John Dumoulin, an IVF expert at Maastricht University Medical Centre, conducted the first randomized controlled experiment to examine these effects more closely. 
The findings show that one culture media, given the name G5, produced a significantly lower birth weight in the resulting babies compared to the other group, HTF. However, the G5 group had a greater number of viable embryos and a higher pregnancy rate. Therefore, it is difficult to draw a line as to which medium is the better option. There is reference to the Barker Hypothesis, which ties complications early in life, such as low birth weight, to larger health issues in middle age. If this holds true, the medium-induced low birth weight could manifest into hypertension, heart disease or diabetes.
There are about 20 different culture media for IVF available. Currently in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration must grant approval for the media. However, companies are not required to release the components of their media nor do they have to notify clinicians of any changes that are made to the composition. Scientists are pushing for uniform regulations requiring transparency from the media makers about the components in order to identify which ones are contributing to adverse effects. 
Is keeping the recipe under wraps worth harming a baby or contracting heart disease? Nana might not even think so. 

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