Today’s Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) helps to increase the healthy birth rates of babies through genetic testing. This is because only the healthiest embryos are transferred for implantation during a fresh IVF cycle and/or Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). Genetic testing helps to reduce the number of cycles required to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Indeed, self-awareness and self-education are integral parts of any woman beginning the journey to motherhood. Through reading, talking to other women, and being open to her doctor (infertility doctor or primary care physician) about reproductive health, a woman can better judge when to start the pregnancy process. By committing to follicular ultrasounds to test the number of eggs she has left to learning about options like fertility preservation (banking eggs for future use), women can significantly avoid the emotional and physiological stress that comes when she facing age-related fertility issues.
We also agree with both medical guests on the show, Dr. John Jain (a Reproductive Endocrinologist) and Jennifer Lahl (the President at the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network), who emphasized the importance of infertility specialists educating their patients on both the risks associated with older women getting pregnant and the risks associated with conventional IVF protocols, which oftentimes involve hyperstimulating a woman's ovaries with fertility medication to assist her in producing multiple eggs for use in IVF treatment.
Educating would-be mothers on fertility preservation and emphasizing the fact that as they age it will become harder to get pregnant due to low ovarian reserve are among the most important things a fertility doctor, and any physician for that matter, can do for women wishing to conceive. While these are important factors in the assisted reproduction debate, it is also important to inform women on other choices out there -- holistic, minimally invasive IVF care and egg freezing (fertility preservation), both available here at New Hope Fertility Center.
Mini-IVF™ is our trademarked protocol which is customized to each individual's body and circumstance, so no two cycles are the same. Because our Mini-IVF™ cycles are tailored, it also allows us to forgo some of the expensive (and, for some, intimidating) shots that were mentioned on the Dr. Oz show. In addition, we try very hard to make sure that our fertility care is not a cost prohibitive part of anyone's journey to motherhood and our cycles are also over a few thousand dollars less than the average conventional cycle cost statistic cited on the Dr. Oz show.
We also offer Natural Cycle IVF, which offers women the option to try IVF sans fertility medication.
Whatever your source of the latest IVF news may be, the one thing all these stories have in common is infertility. Infertility, which is defined as an unsuccessful attempt at achieving pregnancy after one year of unprotected sex, affects a range of people. As with the case of Khloe Kardashian, infertility is not ageist - it can affect women in their twenties as much as women in their forties, and can be caused by everything from PCOS to weight issues to autoimmune disorders (the latter being the case for Elizabeth Hasselback, who suffers from Celiac disease).
Fertility care specialists have been working for over thirty years in an effort to develop the most healthy and cost effective ways to help women achieve their dream of motherhood, no matter what their root cause of infertility may be. At New Hope Fertility Clinic, our protocols have been developed by pioneers in the fertility field, including New Hope founder Dr. John Zhang, who is credited with the oldest in vitro pregnancy to date. New Hope's unique protocols provide women of all backgrounds (miscarriages, failed IVF cycles, high FSH levels) a chance to get pregnant. By customizing our fertility treatment plans for each individual patient based on their needs and fertility background, New Hope is able to keep the health risks and high costs associated with conventional IVF treatments low through our "One Good Egg" policy and and our practice of single embryo transfers.
We wish all the celebrities on the IVF path success (and others on their fertility journey as well).
What other celebrity infertility stories have you heard?
Our vitrification method is also what makes our donor program unique. Many donor programs require the donor recipient and egg donor to cycle at the same time. At New Hope, we can freeze donor eggs until the recipient is most ready for the donor egg transfer. By using vitrification to preserve donor eggs, we ensure our fertility care is playing best to the needs of the patient, while also avoiding overmedication often involved in trying to synchronize cycles.
Typically, fertility care experts have to biopsy the polar body or remove a cell from the egg or embryo to test for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down's Syndrome during IVF treatments. These procedures are invasive and risk damaging the cell, leaving it unfit fit for implantation (source: ESHRE). Dr. Fragouli of the University of Oxford has discovered a method of chromosomal testing that decreases this risk, as well as the cost associated with PGS, by examining the cells that float around the egg or embryo.
According to Fragouli and her team, the 'egg and the cumulus cells [cells that exist in a cloud outside the egg] are in constant communication and depend upon each other for continued viability." By analyzing the changes in cumulus cells that result from chromosomal abnormalities within the egg, they argue, such testing can assist fertility care doctors in their treatment of patients, as the information from cumulus cell may help reveal chromosomal abnormalities to doctors and patients without having to biopsy polar bodies. This will further assist doctors in implanting the healthiest eggs possible during IVF procedures. In addition, cumulus cells are usually stripped from eggs during IVF treatments, making them easily obtainable for chromosomal testing.
Dr. Fragouli and her team were able to make connections between the presence of chromosomal abnormalities in the cumulus cells found in polar bodies that produced the same genetic flaws. The team is still working to establish if cumulus cell analysis can provide even deeper insight into the agents of chromosomal abnormalities (even deeper than that of PGS), and hope the findings can provide useful information concerning the healthiest eggs to utilize in IVF procedures in order to increase the rate of healthy pregnancies and live births.
Eva Ottoson of Nottinghamshire, England is planning to take part in a medical procedure that, if successful, will break tremendous ground in the area of organ donation.
Next year, Ms. Ottoson will undergo elective surgery that will transplant her uterus into the womb of her 25-year-old daughter, Sara, who suffers from Mayer Rokitanksy Kuster Hauser (MRKH) syndrome. Those who have this rare condition are born without parts of the reproductive system. In Sara's case, she was delivered without a uterus and parts of her vagina (source: BangaloreMirror.com).
If the procedure proves successful, Sara will have her eggs fertilized with her boyfriend's sperm through IVF and, hopefully, will end up carrying her child in the same womb in which she was carried. The mother and daughter will make history if Sara's body accepts her mother's uterus and she is able to carry a baby to term. The only other reported uterus transplant failed when the patient's uterus was lost to hemorrhage - a risk that runs high for this type of operation (source: The Telegraph).
We will continue to follow this story as it is told and hope to report good news on the procedure once it happens.