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Infertility and Mother's Day Coping Strategies

Celebrating your own mom may work, but if not, take a day for yourself

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Unlike Valentine’s Day, which focuses on the couple, this commercialized day can be one of the hardest days for a woman coping with infertility.

“Mother’s Day can be a double whammy,” says Andrea Mechanick Braverman, Ph.D., a Pennsylvania health psychologist who specializes in infertility counseling. “Another anniversary of a year gone by without a baby — and a holiday that specifically excludes you.”

When and How Does Fertility Decline?

Dr. Eric Flisser, a New York fertility doctor with Reproductive Medicine Associates (RMA) of New York, explains how egg quality, egg quantity, and age affect a woman's fertility.

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Older Women with Low AMH Still Have Chance for Pregnancy

Image of Low AMH

Women with extremely low ovarian reserve may be told that their only hope for a successful pregnancy and birth is by using a donor egg; however, sometimes this is not the option they want to choose. There can be, however, other options for these women. In fact, the Center for Human Reproduction (CHR) recently earned international recognition for its paper analyzing IVF success rates in women with low (AMH) levels. The paper received the Austrian Hugo Husslein Prize, which is awarded biannually by the Austrian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Pregnancy Outcomes After Fresh vs. Frozen Embryo Transfer

There’s a lot in the media, including here on FertilityAuthority, about the shift toward frozen embryo transfer in IVF. Proponents, and some studies, say transferring a vitrified, thawed embryo best mimics a natural cycle and results in higher pregnancy rates than fresh IVF transfer.

Does Number of Frozen Embryos Correlate with IVF Success?

In a recent retrospective cohort study, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College looked at data of all patients undergoing a fresh IVF cycle and a subsequent frozen IVF cycle over a 13-year period. They sought to determine whether there are any predictors of the likelihood of success in a frozen embryo transfer after failure to conceive in a fresh embryo transfer.

Higher Pregnancy Rates in Frozen IVF Transfers

A recent study set out to determine, “Do chromosomally normal embryos implant at a higher rate in a fresh IVF cycle or in a frozen/thaw IVF cycle?” Patients who underwent IVF with comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS) and had one or more euploid (normal) embryos for transfer from September 2010 to March 2015, were included in the study conducted by Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York (RMA of New York). The data revealed, “An optimal outcome is achieved by the performance of single embryo transfer in frozen/thaw cycles.”

Endometriosis an Indication for IVF with ICSI

A recent study sought to investigate if intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), increases IVF success in patients with endometriosis.

Researchers analyzed the fertility treatment cycles of 221 patients with a confirmed endometriosis diagnosis, compared to 150 patients with unexplained infertility. In the endometriosis group, 124 patients had standard insemination, and 97 patients had ICSI. The ICSI group had a higher percentage of day 5 transfers, a higher clinical pregnancy rate and a higher live birth rate than the insemination group.

Fertility Treatment for Sperm DNA Fragmentation

A sperm DNA fragmentation assessment can help determine appropriate fertility treatment in infertile men with normal semen parameters who have a failed IUI cycle. A recent study by Weill Cornell Medical College analyzed the efficiency of different fertility treatment methods by comparing pregnancy rates between normal and abnormal sperm DNA fragmentation cohorts in relation to IUI, IVF and IVF with ICSI. The researchers determined, “For men with compromised sperm DNA fragmentation in their ejaculate, ICSI confirms to be the best insemination method with ejaculated sperm. For men who have compromised sperm nuclear DNA that failed ICSI, a testicular sampling yielded superior clinical outcome.”

Improving Implantation of Slower Growing Embryos

The implantation rate of slower developing blastocysts (day 5 embryos) is a result of asynchrony of the embryo and the endometrium, not the quality of the embryo, according to data presented by Reproductive Medicine Associates of NY (RMA of NY). However, the implantation rate is improved if the slower developing embryos are frozen, then thawed and transferred to a well-prepared, controlled uterine environment.

Should IVF Patients Using Donor Eggs Screen Embryos with PGS?

The role of preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) in egg donor IVF has been unclear, according to Dr. John Zhang. While success rates using donor egg are generally high because donors are young, a large number of embryos are reported to be aneuploid (abnormal) – as many as 53%. So Zhang and researchers at New Hope Fertility Center looked at 81 egg donation cycles to determine whether PGS would be effective. In the study, 31 patients had PGS and transferred euploid (normal) embryos and 50 did not have PGS on the embryos transferred. The PGS group had a higher implantation rate (72.3% vs. 49.1%) and a higher clinical pregnancy rate (72.5% vs. 46.1%).

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