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A Recipe for Making a Baby
a blog by Lori Butler, December 14, 2011
Have you heard Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) referred to as “Cook Book Medicine?" This suggests that there might be a fertility recipe for a successful pregnancy. Perhaps it would look like this:
What You Will Need
Oven heated to 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit
Mix Egg and Sperm together in Petri Dish
Wait 3-5 days
Transfer to oven
Cook For approximately 38 weeks
Remove from oven and swaddle immediately
Similar to cooking, baby making is simple, yet complex.
The best recipes call for fresh ingredients, carefully measured and combined.
Eggs: The age of a woman’s eggs usually determines her fertility potential. This is why FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) is measured along with some other hormone levels.
Sperm: ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is often used to enhance the fertilization process. This technology involves selecting the best sperm and injecting it directly into an oocyte (egg).
Medication: Gonadotropins and other drugs are used during a stimulation cycle. They are combined in a targeted protocol according to a treatment plan designed by a reproductive endocrinologist (fertility doctor).
Preparation and timing are essential to the success of the recipe.
Petri Dish: The embryology lab is where the mixing takes place. The equipment, the medium and the quality control of the environment are critical in creating a viable embryo.
Oven: A woman’s uterus must be carefully prepared. During a stimulation cycle, fertility drugs are administered in very precise amounts to thicken the uterine lining for optimal embryo implantation.
Monitoring: Blood work and ultrasound timing are extremely important. A woman’s hormones are carefully controlled, and her ovary production is closely evaluated during fertility treatment.
Retrieval: A woman’s follicular fluid is retrieved by a reproductive endocrinologist and then evaluated by an embryologist who finds the eggs and fertilizes them.
Transfer: Embryos are transferred to the uterus on either Day 3 or on Day 5 when they are blastocysts, depending on their development. The timing of transfer can significantly affect pregnancy rates and is determined by a fertility specialist.
Cooking: During the gestation period, a woman has many lifestyle decisions to make; healthy diet and exercise regimens can ensure the best prenatal care for baby. Stress reduction programs have also been proven to be beneficial during pregnancy.
Who’s in the kitchen?
The Reproductive Endocrinologist: The fertility doctor is responsible for the successful administration of fertility treatment. He or she is assisted by embryologists, nurses and other team members who collaborate in overall patient care.
A highly trained chef and culinary team are essentia. These experts create with compassion, putting heart and soul into their masterpiece. “Cook Book Medicine” truly is a unique work of ART.