An IVF technique that takes thousands of snapshots of a developing embryo could help prevent miscarriages.
A study has found that the chances of a successful live birth were increased by 56% when time-lapse imaging was used throughout the pregnancy.
This method spots developmental problems in the embryo at crucial stages which could indicate aneuploidy, a condition in which cells have extra or missing chromosomes.
Aneuploidy is a common cause of fertility treatment failure and miscarriage. Most affected embryos will not implant in the womb, but if they do they can result in a miscarriage or the birth of a child with a chromosomal disorder such as Down's syndrome.
Traditional techniques for spotting aneuploidy involve removing cells from embryos and genetic screening, but time-lapse imaging offers a non-invasive alternative that can help couples undergoing IVF treatment, according to the research, published in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online .
Alison Campbell, embryology director at IVF clinic operators CARE Fertility, which led the research, said: "Our key finding was that embryos from the high-risk class (for aneuploidy) showed no implantation at all.
"The highest implantation as well as live birth potential was found for embryos from our low-risk class. From this we conclude that our algorithms for risk classification of aneuploidy can be applied to all IVF patients in order to allow for selection of embryos with a higher potential to implant and produce a live birth."
Copyright Press Association 2013