Episode Summary

Daniella Gilboa is an embryologist in Israel working to bring the power of AI and machine learning to the embryo selection phase of IVF treatment. She explains how her new startup aims to automate this error-ridden process, raising efficiency and lowering the overall cost of IVF.

Episode Notes

Doctors helping couples conceive through in-vitro fertilization typically must screen multiple fertilized embryos to select one embryo for implantation—but the process is fraught with risk and subjectivity. from In 2018 Gilboa and her colleagues Daniel Seidman and Eyal Schiff co-founded AIVF, an Israel-based startup developing decision support tools that use deep learning and computer vision to lower the risk by identifying the most promising embryos for intrauterine implantation.

The company’s technology takes the place of old-fashioned visual evaluation of embryos by humans, instead of capturing time-lapse video of embryos from the moment of conception to the fifth day after conception, at multiple focal planes. “It’s an obscene amount of data,” Gilboa says. “Instead of looking at the embryo once a day under the microscope, we have tons of images to annotate and look for the biological features that we know are correlated with success.”

Proprietary machine learning algorithms use the video data, together with patients’ health history and genomic data, to predict which embryos have the highest chance of developing into a healthy newborn. In theory, the technology will lower failure rates, decreasing the number of fertility cycles required for conception and therefore lowering the overall cost of IVF treatment.

“Many people don’t get to fulfill their dream of having a child, and this is really heartbreaking for me,” Gilboa tells Harry. “This is what really drives me as an embryologist to be able to provide a new, next-generation IVF treatment that would be accessible, that wouldn’t be so expensive.”

Check out the full show notes for this episode and other MoneyBall Medicine™ episodes on our website. For more on how data is transforming reproductive medicine, listen to Harry’s interview with Alan Copperman.

Please rate and review MoneyBall Medicine™ on Apple Podcasts! Here’s how to do that from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

• Launch the “Podcasts” app on your device. If you can’t find this app, swipe all the way to the left on your home screen until you’re on the Search page. Tap the search field at the top and type in “Podcasts.” Apple’s Podcasts app should show up in the search results.

• Tap the Podcasts app icon, and after it opens, tap the Search field at the top, or the little magnifying glass icon in the lower right corner.

• Type MoneyBall Medicine into the search field and press the Search button.

• In the search results, click on the MoneyBall Medicine logo.

• On the next page, scroll down until you see the Ratings & Reviews section. Below that, you’ll see five purple stars.

• Tap the stars to rate the show.

• Scroll down a little farther. You’ll see a purple link saying “Write a Review.”

• On the next screen, you’ll see the stars again. You can tap them to leave a rating if you haven’t already.

• In the Title field, type a summary for your review.

• In the Review field, type your review.

• When you’re finished, click Send.

• That’s it, you’re done. Thanks!