Healthy Life: Baby Steps in Fertility Findings

BACKGROUND: Infertility refers to not being able to become pregnant after years of trying to do so. If a woman has multiple miscarriages, it is also called infertility. About one-third of the time, infertility can be traced to the woman. In another third of cases, infertility is due to the man. About two-thirds of couples that are treated for infertility go on to have children.
(SOURCE: National Women's Health Information Center)

IVF: In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure to treat fertility problems. During IVF, a woman's mature eggs are retrieved from her ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. The fertilized egg, which is known as an embryo, is then implanted in the woman's uterus. One cycle of IVF takes about two weeks. It is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology available. According to a New York Times article, more than 50,000 children are born each year to parents who undergo IVF.
(SOURCE: Mayo Clinic)

IMPROVING IVF: There are several new techniques doctors are using to improve the success of IVF. These include:
• CCS: Comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS) is a new method doctors are using to screen embryos before they are transferred to the patient via IVF. The procedure allows doctors to implant only healthy embryos, thus allowing women, especially older women, to achieve higher pregnancy rates. The technique also helps women who suffer miscarriages due to chromosomal abnormalities.
• Vitrification: Sometimes, embryos are frozen before they are transferred to a patient. Doctors used to slowly freeze the embryos, but now, they have seen better results by performing a rapid freeze, which is known as vitrification. With this technique, embryos have more than a 95 percent chance of surviving.
• ICSI: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a method developed to help couples with severe male factor infertility. The technique involves very precise maneuvers to pick up a single, live sperm and inject it directly into the center of a human egg. The method is about 85 percent successful.

Sarah Stavros
Marketing/Public Relations
Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine
(303) 761-0579
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