Health Life

Artificial intelligence system developed to help better select embryos for implantation

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For many people who are struggling to conceive, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can offer a life-changing solution. But the average success rate for IVF is only about 30 percent. Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital are developing an artificial intelligence system with the goal of improving IVF success by helping embryologists objectively select embryos most likely to result in a healthy birth. Using thousands of embryo image examples and deep-learning artificial intelligence (AI), the team developed a system that was able to differentiate and identify embryos with the highest potential for success significantly better than 15 experienced embryologists from five different fertility centers across the United States. Results of their study are published in eLife.

“We believe that these systems will benefit clinical embryologists and patients,” said corresponding author Hadi Shafiee, Ph.D., of the Division of Engineering in Medicine at the Brigham. “A major challenge in the field is deciding on the embryos that need to be transferred during IVF. Our system has tremendous potential to improve clinical decision making and access to care.”

Currently, the tools available to embryologists are limited and expensive, and most embryologists must rely on their observational skills and expertise. Shafiee and colleagues are developing an assistive tool that can evaluate images captured using microscopes traditionally available at fertility centers.

“There is so much at stake for our patients with each IVF cycle. Embryologists make dozens of critical decisions that impact the success of a patient cycle. With assistance from our AI system, embryologists will be able to select the embryo that will result in a successful pregnancy better than ever before,” said co-lead author Charles Bormann, Ph.D., MGH IVF Laboratory director.

The team trained the AI system using images of embryos captured at 113 hours post-insemination.

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Learning to the Use the Toilet • ZERO TO THREE

When and how to help your child learn to use the potty depends on how ready your child is, as well as your own beliefs and values about toilet training. There is not one “right” way or one “right” age to learn. Here are some questions and thoughts to keep in mind as you help your child learn to use the toilet.

Signs That Children Are Ready for Potty Training

Most children develop control over their bowel and bladder by 18 months. This skill is necessary for children to physically be able to use the toilet. How ready a child is emotionally to begin learning to use the potty depends on the individual child. Some children are ready at 18 months, and others are ready at 3. While every child is different, about 22% of children are out of diapers by 2½, and 88% of children are out of diapers by 3½.

Your child is ready to learn to use the toilet when he or she:

  • Stays dry for at least 2 hours at a time, or after naps

  • Recognizes that she is urinating or having a bowel movement. For example, your child might go into another room or under the table when she has a bowel movement. This is important—if you child does not realize she is having a bowel movement, she won’t be successful at potty training.

  • Is developing physical skills that are critical to potty training—the ability to walk, to pull pants up and down, and to get onto/off the potty (with some help).

  • Copies a parent’s toileting behavior.

  • Can follow simple instructions.

  • Most important, your child wants to use the potty. He may tell you that he wants to wear “big boy” underpants or learn to go potty “like Daddy does.” He may feel uncomfortable in