Orchid, a reproductive technology startup, has unveiled a groundbreaking genetic test aimed at providing valuable insights for couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). The company is introducing the first commercially available whole genome sequencing report for embryos, catering to individuals dealing with infertility or those at risk of passing on genetic disorders. Unlike traditional tests that read around 0.25% of an embryo’s genome, Orchid’s technology sequences more than 99%, offering unprecedented information about potential genetic risks.
The IVF process involves extracting mature eggs from a woman after two weeks of hormone injections, fertilizing them in a lab, and transferring viable embryos into the uterus. Orchid’s genetic test allows couples to identify genetic risks such as birth defects, neurodevelopmental disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, and even pediatric and adult-onset cancers. This information was previously only detectable after birth.
While IVF is a costly and uncertain process, Orchid’s genetic test adds an additional $2,500 per sequenced embryo. However, the company aims to make this advanced technology accessible to a broader audience, with the cost expected to decrease as operations scale up and automation is introduced.
The technology has already been launched in IVF clinics in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Austin, with the potential for expansion based on patient requests. Couples opting for Orchid’s test will receive their reports after approximately three weeks, accompanied by guidance from a board-certified genetic counselor.
Orchid has garnered $12 million in funding from investors such as Prometheus Fund, Refactor Capital, Anne Wojcicki (23andMe), Dylan Field (Figma), Fidji Simo (Instacart), Brian Armstrong (Coinbase), and others. The genetic test brings peace of mind to hopeful parents like Roshan George, who, after discovering carrier status for nonsyndromic hearing loss, decided to sequence their embryos with Orchid, resulting in a significant reduction in anxiety.
With Orchid’s advanced technology, parents have the opportunity to access significantly more information about their baby’s genetic health, potentially reshaping the landscape of reproductive decision-making. Orchid’s focus post-launch is on scaling up its technology and making it more accessible to a wider demographic.
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