The IVF process is a commonly performed fertility treatment where eggs are removed from the ovaries and mixed with sperm. Eggs that fertilize become embryos and are transferred to the uterus in hopes that a pregnancy will result. IVF is used to overcome a variety of fertility difficulties. These include cases in which the tubes are blocked or the sperm count is low. IVF is also used in cases where the woman has decreased fertility potential, based on age or other causes. IVF is also used frequently in couples with "unexplained" infertility. This occurs when all the testing is normal, but a pregnancy has not resulted despite trying for 6 or more months.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a laboratory procedure whereby, using micromanipulation, a single sperm is injected directly into the cytoplasm of a mature egg. This process increases the likelihood of fertilization when there are abnormalities in the number, quality, or function of the sperm or when there are problems with sperm penetration of the egg. ICSI must be done in conjunction with an in-vitro fertilization cycle.
An IUI is performed when a woman is releasing eggs (ovulating). The sperm that will be used for insemination will either be produced by the male partner or will be obtained from a sperm donor, depending on your treatment plan. Sperm produced by the male partner will be washed with a special solution in the laboratory. The sperm will be injected into the uterus using a thin tube (catheter) attached to a plastic syringe. IUI is often an effective treatment for diagnosis of poor motility (sperm swimming ability) or if there is an ejaculatory problem. The effectiveness of an IUI is naturally higher if sperm parameters are within the normal limits. Results depend on the age of the female partner, diagnosis and the treatments done in conjunction with IUI.
Assisted Zona Hatching (AZH) is a procedure that, in select patients, may help to increase the chances of embryo implantation and pregnancy. The preimplantation embryo is surrounded by a protective "shell" called the zona pellucida. This shell is necessary for embryo development up to the blastocyst stage (about day 5). Once the blastocyst has been formed, the embryo must break free (hatch) from the zona pellucida in order for implantation and pregnancy to occur.
AZH is a micromanipulation technique performed when the embryo is at Day 3 of development. The embryos are usually between the 6 to 8 cell stage. During the AZH procedure, a hole is created in the zona of the embryo using a laser. This is done a few hours before the embryo transfer. This gap in the embryo's zona facilitates the embryos ability to hatch free of the zona pellucida when it expands as a blastocyst in the uterus. One potential explanation for failure of implantation is that the embryo is unable to escape from the zona pellucida.
Assisted hatching is most useful for the following types of patients:
Assisted hatching may increase the probability of embryo implantation, thereby increasing the chance of achieving pregnancy through IVF.
There is a small risk of damaging the embryos during the assisted hatching procedure. All embryologists performing AZH at InVia Fertility are fully trained in the practice of AZH making the risk minimal.
PGD involves taking a single cell, or blastomere, from a developing embryo and testing it for genetic disease or chromosomal abnormality. As a result, for an increasing number of genetic conditions, PGD allows only those embryos diagnosed as being free from the genetic condition to be transferred back to the uterus for implantation and possible pregnancy.
Both fertile and infertile patients can benefit from PGD technology. PGD is an excellent resource for those patients who:
PGD must be done in conjunction with an IVF cycle. After fertilization in the laboratory, the resultant embryo is allowed to grow up to day 3. Specially trained embryologists then perform the biopsy and the cell is analyzed either by Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH) or Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The embryos diagnosed as normal will then be transferred back to the uterus and/or cryopreserved on day 5 at the blastocyst stage of development.
Some women are unable to produce healthy eggs and achieve pregnancy. In many situations, the use of donor eggs is the only option to help infertile women experience the joys of parenthood.