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Fresh vs. Frozen: Which Embryo Is Better for IVF?

a blog by Claire, September 4, 2012

Women who use frozen embryos may have more success with In vitro fertilization (IVF) than those using fresh. British researchers from the University of Aberdeen announced the findings of a retrospective study comparing IVF frozen embryo transfer to fresh embryo transfer say that the frozen embryos are safer for mother and child.

Typically in IVF, a woman has her eggs retrieved and then one or two embryos transferred several days later. Any excess embryos created in the lab that are of good quality are frozen to be used later. The researchers reviewed 11 international published studies involving more than 37,000 pregnancies following implantation of either a fresh or frozen embryo. In their review they found that in pregnancy resulting in transfer of frozen embryos, there was:

    Embryos on Ice May Provide More Successful IVF

    Image of Cyropreservation
    Frozen Embryo Transfer, Single Embryo Transfer, Safer amd Better for IVF Success?

    Think Ice, Ice … Baby.

    If you are a couple considering in vitro fertilization (IVF), you may want to ask your fertility doctor about the possibility of freezing all of the embryos and transferring one later in a frozen embryo transfer (FET). Why? Spanish researchers have presented the first meta-analysis that indicates that the chance of a clinical pregnancy is around 30 percent higher when all embryos are frozen for later transfer than with fresh embryo transfer. And Australian researchers who analyzed more than 50,000 births between 2004 and 2008 say that a policy of single embryo transfer (SET) is associated with a reduction in perinatal mortality in infants born as a a result of IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

    Both studies were presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) conference in Istanbul, Turkey, in July.

    "It has become very routine for us in the last year to incorporate preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), and we do the embryo testing at the blastocyst stage for PGS and PGD procedures," says Brad Hurst, M.D., Director of Assisted Reproduction with the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center's Women's Institute. "Typically we'll vitrify the embryos and come back later and do a frozen embryo transfer. We're using PGS also to help us do more single embryo transfer procedures."

    Estimated Number of IVF Babies Hits the 5 Million Mark

    by Leigh Ann Woodruff, July 2, 2012

    In just 34 years — the blink of an eye as far as time goes since the birth of Louise Brown in July 1978 — the estimated number of children conceived and born via assisted reproduction technology (ART) has reached 5 million mark, according to a calculation by the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART). ICMART will present the figures this week at the 28th annual meeting of ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) in Istanbul, Turkey.

    "FIVE MILLION!! Five million dreams come true. Five million families that may never have been created," says Robert Stillman, M.D., a fertility doctor and medical director of Shady Grove Fertility in the Washington, D.C., area. "The professionals who have been part of this miracle from the beginning to those recently joining the medical teams worldwide have stood on the shoulders of giants — Dr. [Robert G.] Edwards was recently and appropriately recognized with the Nobel Prize in Medicine."

    Keep Trying? Success of Cumulative IVF May Approach Natural Birth Rate

    by Leigh Ann Woodruff, June 28, 2012

    It may get expensive, but there is good news for women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that women who undergo multiple fertility treatments may be nearly as likely to deliver a baby as women who conceive naturally. The average cost of an IVF cycle is around 12,400.

    “Having the data to demonstrate that medically assisted conception can nearly match rates of natural conception is an important milestone,” says Dolores J. Lamb, PhD, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

    The Michigan State University study of nearly 250,000 U.S. women sought to estimate cumulative success rates for IVF with continued treatment. Traditionally, assisted reproductive technology (ART) success is reported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Assisted Reproductive Technology Report, and live birth rates are reported per cycle (per one course of treatment).

    World's First IVF Mom Paved Way for Many More

    Lesley Brown, mother of Louise, died at age 64

    a blog by Claire, June 21, 2012

    Lesley Brown, the British woman who became the mother of the world's first baby via in vitro fertilization (IVF), died on June 6 at the age of 64. This "quiet and private" woman, according to her daughter Louise, took a brave, important step of trying IVF in order to conceive a child, and she made history on July 25, 1978, when she successfully delivered her daughter.

    "Lesley Brown’s courage and forward thinking paved the way for millions of families today who have utilized in vitro fertilization therapy," says Pavna Brahma, M.D., a fertility doctor with Reproductive Biology Associates of Atlanta. "Our field will be forever indebted to her for being a visionary and a true inspiration."

    New Tool to Predict IVF Patients' Chance of Having Twins

    Image of IVF Twins

    by Leigh Ann Woodruff, June 5, 2012

    Being pregnant with twins is riskier than a singleton birth, no question. There are many more complications for both mother and babies. However, many couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) want to transfer more embryos in order to ensure they have a pregnancy and birth. But if you knew you were very likely to get pregnant with twins, would you still ask your fertility doctor to transfer more than one embryo?

    A paper published in Fertility and Sterility reports the results of an advanced statistical method — which takes into account such factors as total motile sperm and Day 3 FSH levels — that can reliably predict an individual IVF patient's chance of conceiving multiples before the embryo transfer. The authors applied an advanced statistical prediction analysis to 2,413 double embryo transfer cycles at Boston IVF that resulted in live births from 2000 to 2009. They found that individual IVF patients have different risks of multiple birth probabilities, ranging from 11.8 percent to 54.8 percent. In more than half the patients, the rates were significantly different from probabilities based solely on age.

    "Today, IVF patients and their physicians struggle with the choice of how many embryos to transfer," says Mylene Yao, M.D., one of the article's authorsand co-founder and CEO of Los Altos, Ca.-based Univfy Inc., developers of prognostic technology for fertility patients. "There is a general concern that transferring only one embryo can compromise the chance of pregnancy, and transferring even two embryos may raise the risks of multiple birth and associated obstetrical and neonatal complications. Personalized predictions of multiple birth risks enable patients and physicians to make safer and more informed embryo transfer decisions, while aiming to reduce incidence of unplanned multiple births."

    Fertility Treatment Studies May Alarm — Make Sure You Understand the Facts

    Image of Fertility Research

    by Leigh Ann Woodruff, May 7, 2012

    During the past few weeks, several studies have come out with alarming headlines about fertility treatment, with the most recent linking a type of fertility treatment to birth defect risk in the resulting children. Other recent studies have linked fertility treatment to childhood leukemia and circulatory problems in children.

    If you are a fertility treatment patient, try to put the studies into perspective. There are many factors that can increase the risk of a certain condition, but the overall risk may remain relatively low.

    Fertility Treatment and Birth Defects Study

    Researchers have known for a while that babies born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) are more likely to have birth defects. A recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that two things play a role in this: certain fertility treatments and infertility itself.

    “This study confirms what has been known for quite some time: Patients who need medical assistance to conceive have a somewhat higher risk of having children with birth defects than parents able to conceive on their own," says Linda Giudice, MD, PhD, a fertility doctor with UCSF Center for Reproductive Health and president-elect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). "Patients considering medically assisted conception have been, and should continue to be, counseled on those risks prior to undergoing any treatment.”

    Infertile? You Might Still Get Pregant Naturally

    a blog by Claire, May 4, 2012

    You just never know — a new study finds that being labeled "infertile" does not necessarily mean you will never have a baby naturally. French researchers published in the Fertility and Sterility that helps clarify those anecdotes about people having a successful or failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) and then going on to have a baby naturally.

    Laugh Until You Cry (and Then Laugh Again)

    a blog by Suzanne Rico, May 1, 2012

    At the beginning of our third IVF try, feeling beaten by repeated miscarriages and the financial suck of infertility, my husband and I went to Palm Springs for the weekend. We thought perhaps that starting the parade of baby-making shots in a warm, stress-free environment would help us succeed. But that night, just imagine my surprise (and stress!) when we discovered that instead of grabbing the Gonal-F vial from the fridge on our way out the door, my sweet hubby had grabbed the dog’s ear medicine instead. Back he drove to LA, faster than a drug runner at the U.S. border, returning at 2 a.m. to first jab a needle into my butt cheek and then pass out cold. For the rest of the cycle, we laughed about it — and that felt good.

    Catholicism and IVF: No Easy Answers

    a blog by Marna Gatlin, Parents Via Egg Donation, April 30, 2012

    Emily Herx, former Indiana high school teacher of literature was fired from her position at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic High School in Fort Wayne, IN, undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

    Herx was told her contract would not be renewed because of “improprieties related to church teachings or law.” Herx says the school's priest called her a "grave, immoral sinner" and told her she should have kept mum about her fertility treatments because some things are "better left between the individual and God," the complaint said.


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