With the Aurora Test, we aim to help you minimize the cost, time, and stress of infertility treatments. The Aurora Test provides valuable insight into the quality of each of your retrieved eggs. It predicts which egg has the highest potential to develop into a baby.
The Aurora Test:
Allows the identification of the best quality egg. It allows the transfer of a single embryo which has the highest chance to implant and become a healthy baby.
Significantly increases pregnancy rates per transfer.
Reduces the time needed to achieve pregnancy as your best egg is chosen for your first transfer. Also reduces costs as fewer transfer cycles are needed.
It presents no ethical issues as it is performed on the eggs’ cells. In routine treatments, those cells are normally discarded prior to the injection of sperm (ICSI).
Increased confidence in transferring a single embryo to avoid health risks associated with twin or triplet pregnancies.
Our aim is to improve fertility treatments to give access to more couples and to reduce the overall burden of the treatment. We strive to have as many women as possible pregnant from the first attempt.
Our motto is one try, one child.
Aurora Test for ICSI
The Aurora Test measures the quality of your eggs (also called oocytes). It is a lab analysis of the cells surrounding the egg. These cells, called cumulus cells, are normally removed and discarded during ICSI treatment (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). By analyzing these cells, we can predict which eggs are the best and that will give you the highest chance of having a baby. Your gynecologist will then transfer the embryo from your best egg. You will have an increased chance to become pregnant and deliver a healthy baby on your first attempt.
Aurora Test for freezing of eggs
More and more women are postponing their decision to become a parent, driven by a variety of factors. In recent years, women finally got the option to freeze their high-quality eggs in order to preserve their fertility. This will provide the freedom to decide when you want to start your family. You don’t need to worry about declining fertility.
If you decide to freeze your eggs, you may need to undergo a series of hormone treatments in order to maximize the number of eggs retrieved. The Aurora Test will score your eggs after the first hormone treatment. It will give you insights into the quality of your collected eggs.
Eventually, these results can help the embryologist decide which embryos to transfer when you are ready to become a parent. This could potentially avoid multiple cycles of embryo transfer.
If you’re having trouble becoming pregnant, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) may be right for you and so might also the Aurora Test. An IVF cycle involves several different steps that will help you increase the chances of becoming pregnant. The most important step is selecting the embryo with the highest potential to result in the birth of a healthy baby.
You will receive hormone stimulation to mature many eggs
After egg collection, the embryologist removes the cumulus cells surrounding the egg to free the egg for sperm injection (ICSI).
The successfully fertilized eggs (now called embryos) grow in the laboratory incubator for 3 days.
In the meantime, the cumulus cells are analysed with the Aurora Test to know which of your eggs has the highest potential to result in a healthy baby
Your embryologist will monitor the development of the embryos
The embryo that shows good development and a high Aurora Test score will be chosen for your first transfer.
In conclusion, your pregnancy chances will substantially increase with this test compared to embryo selection with only visual evaluation.
Who should use the Aurora Test?
If you are scheduled for ICSI treatment
If you are expected to have a sufficient number of eggs to obtain at least 2 embryos
If you are maximum 39 years old
Please contact your gynaecologist if the test is applicable for your situation
Improving your chances with the Aurora Test
Our study shows higher pregnancy rates after the first transfer (from 29% to 61% pregnancy rate with single embryo transferred after 3 days of culture, results from UZ Brussel)
You will have fewer treatment cycles (less time and money). Our clinical study showed saving an average of 3 transfer cycles
The chance that your first transfer will be successful increases. 50% of the women with Aurora Test had a live birth from the first embryo transfer cycle in the clinical trial at UZ Brussel
The Aurora Test process for freezing your eggs
When you decide to freeze your eggs for future use, you will have to follow these steps:
First, you will receive hormone stimulation to mature many eggs.
After egg collection, the embryologist removes the cumulus cells surrounding the egg to free the egg for freezing.
Your clinic will freeze your eggs at -198°C.
In the meantime, the cumulus cells are analysed with the Aurora Test to know which of your eggs has the highest potential to result in a healthy baby.
When you come back to use your eggs, the embryologist can use this score to aid in the selection of the embryo to be transferred.
The Aurora Test is a non-invasive gene expression test, performed in the cumulus cells of the Cumulus Oocyte Complex (COC), that provides a ranking for the oocytes of a patient.
The Aurora Test measures the potential of an oocyte to develop into a normal healthy child for patients scheduled for ICSI. After analysing the cumulus cells of each oocyte, the embryo from the oocyte with the highest potential will be transferred into the uterus.
Applying this technology in IVF practice has shown that pregnancy rates have doubled (from 29% to 61%) and live birth increased from 27% to 50% after the transfer of a single embryo on day 3.
Aurora Test Principle for IVF (ICSI)
To be able to analyse the cumulus cells of each individual oocyte, the classic group oocyte denudation needs to be adapted to an individual denudation procedure.
The Aurora Test is performed on cumulus cells surrounding the oocytes from a patient and it is based on the measurement of expression of five specific genes.
Cumulus cells are isolated from each oocyte and RNA is extracted from the cumulus cells. cDNA synthesis and real-time PCR is performed using three predictive genes and two control genes. PCR results lead to a quantitative ranking for all oocytes.
Aurora Test principle for Social Oocyte Freezing
The Aurora Test is performed on cumulus cells from all oocytes from a patient and follows the same molecular testing as for an ICSI patient. The oocytes are ranked, and then, in the future, the highest ranked oocytes can be used first.
Results clinical trial
Doubled clinical pregnancy rate for Day 3 fresh SET
Results of our latest prospective clinical study in Europe showed that in the Aurora Test arm with single embryo transfer (SET) on day 3, the clinical pregnancy rate increased from 29% to 61% in the first fresh transfer cycle (ref.1). These were ICSI patients stimulated with HP-hMG. In the control arm patients also had day 3 single embryo transfer, but with morphological scoring only.
Increased cumulative pregnancy rate
In an earlier study (ref.2) cumulative rates were followed up and the Aurora Test also significantly increased the cumulative pregnancy rate from 56% to 78% in comparison to day 3 control group when the patient undergoes consecutive cycles.
Increased the live birth rate
The live birth rate increased from 27% to 50% in comparison to day 3 control group.
The application of Aurora Test is validated for patients with the following criteria:
Stimulation with HP-hMG hormones (e.g. Menopur) followed by ICSI
Patient age between 22 to 39 years
Good ovarian reserve
Excluding severe male infertility
Single embryo transfers on day 3 (fresh or frozen) to avoid twin birth
Aurora Test service offered
DAY 0: Cumulus-oocyte-complex pick-up. Cumulus cells must be removed for each oocyte by embryologist and individually snap-frozen at -80°C in bar-coded cryovials.
DAY 0-1: Samples will be transported in a container (dry shipper with N2 or dry ice) to a clinical testing lab nearby which runs the Aurora Test
DAY 1-2: Aurora Test (RNA isolation, QPCR and analysis) is done in the clinical testing lab.
DAY 2-3: Clinical testing lab will communicate Clinical Report to IVF clinic. Report gives a ranking of all oocytes and specifies which oocyte has the best score.
DAY 3: Embryologist uses this score along with a morphological evaluation to select the best embryo for transfer.
In case there is no pregnancy from a first transfer, the supernumerary embryos which were vitrified will also be transferred following the score.
In the future, the Aurora Test application will be broadened to other gonadotrophins.
Van Vaerenbergh I, Adriaenssens T, Coucke W, Van Landuyt L, Verheyen G, De Brucker M, Camus M, Platteau P, De Vos M, Van Hecke E, Rosenthal A, Smitz J. Improved clinical outcomes after non-invasive oocyte selection and Day 3 eSET in ICSI patients. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2021 Feb 19;19(1):26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33608027/
Adriaenssens T, Van Vaerenbergh I, Coucke W, Segers I, Verheyen G, Anckaert E, De Vos M, Smitz J. Cumulus-corona gene expression analysis combined with morphological embryo scoring in single embryo transfer cycles increases live birth after fresh transfer and decreases time to pregnancy. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2019 Mar;36(3):433-443. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30627993/
Wathlet S, Adriaenssens T, Segers I, Verheyen G, Van Landuyt L, Coucke W, Devroey P, Smitz J. Pregnancy prediction in single embryo transfer cycles after ICSI using QPCR: validation in oocytes from the same cohort. PLoS One. 2013;8(4)
Wathlet S, Adriaenssens T, Segers I, Verheyen G, Janssens R, Coucke W, Devroey P, Smitz J. New candidate genes to predict pregnancy outcome in single embryo transfer cycles when using cumulus cell gene expression. Fertil Steril. 2012 Aug;98(2)
Wathlet S, Adriaenssens T, Segers I, Verheyen G, Van de Velde H, Coucke W, Ron El R, Devroey P, Smitz J. Cumulus cell gene expression predicts better cleavage-stage embryo or blastocyst development and pregnancy for ICSI patients. Hum Reprod. 2011 May;26(5)
Adriaenssens T, Segers I, Wathlet S, Smitz J. The cumulus cell gene expression profile of oocytes with different nuclear maturity and potential for blastocyst formation. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2011 Jan;28(1):31-40
Adriaenssens T, Wathlet S, Segers I, Verheyen G, De Vos A, Van der Elst J, Coucke W, Devroey P, Smitz J. Cumulus cell gene expression is associated with oocyte developmental quality and influenced by patient and treatment characteristics. Hum Reprod. 2010 May;25(5)
We tried to have a baby for more than 1 year and we hoped this was our solution. Quickly I realized that the many doctor visits, hormones, etc brought a lot of emotional stress and pressure to my partner and on my job. I learned about the Aurora Test, a safe test that could help me get pregnant faster. No doubt, we immediately agreed to get this test. I had 7 oocytes resulting in 4 viable embryos. The test allowed the embryologist to transfer the best scoring embryo immediately. And guess what, I was pregnant after my first transfer! Jennifer, 30 years
We had one baby after IVF and were dreaming about our second one. We were still considering when a friend told us about the Aurora Test. It would increase our chances as the best embryo could be chosen from the best scoring egg. It appealed to us and we decided to go for it. I had 12 oocytes and 7 viable embryos. We were so happy that the Aurora Test could help the embryologist in his decision and got it right from the first transfer. Sarah, 34 years
I also wish to have a child, but I never expected that it would be so heavy. And it wasn’t cheap either. The stress, the money, the many discussions. When the doctor told us about the Aurora Test, I pushed my wife to get it. She is very anti-genetic testing and is scared about all new technologies. However, the Aurora Test does not touch the embryo. It is not a genetic test and is safe. It helped us to get pregnant faster and saved us a lot of money. I am proud to say, we are expecting our first baby soon. Thank you Fertiga to make our dreams come true.Eric, 32 years
Fertiga is a spin-off company from one of the global IVF leading centers, UZ Brussels in Belgium.
Our goal is to improve fertility treatments, make them accessible to more couples and reduce the overall burden of treatment. We aim to get as many women as possible pregnant from the first attempt.
Our motto is one try, one child.
Meet our founders
Prof. Dr. Johan Smitz, Chief Medical Officer
Prof Smitz – a medical doctor by training – is the head of the Follicle Biology (FOBI) group at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and a member of the clinical diagnostics department at the University Hospital of VUB (UZ Brussels). Johan has been involved for more than 10 years in the development of new diagnostic modalities to predict oocyte competence for pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing in-vitro fertilization after hormone stimulation. This technology is a key component of Fertiga’s offering in the market.
Ir. Elien Van Hecke, Chief Commercial Officer
Ms. Van Hecke is a bioengineer by training and holds a master’s in business economics. She has seven years of experience in different marketing and sales roles both in Biotech (Innogenetics) and large diagnostic companies (Fujirebio/Roche). Elien decided to exit Roche Belgium to start up Fertiga in 2017.
Prof. Dr. André Rosenthal, Chief Executive Officer
Prof Rosenthal – a molecular biologist by training – was a member of the leadership group (2015-2017) of Roche Sequencing, a business unit headquartered in California. He was the sole founder and CEO of Signature Diagnostic, a cancer diagnostic company in Germany, which he sold to Roche in 2015. Andre has extensive experience in clinical and experimental cancer research, human genetics, and genomics. From 1994 to 2001 he was the head of the German Human Genome Sequencing Project contributing to the sequencing of chromosome 21 in 2000. He joined Fertiga at the beginning of 2018.