In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most complex of the assisted reproduction techniques that are used to treat infertility and help with the conception of a child. During IVF treatment, a number of different protocols can be used for the stimulation of the ovaries and the creation of multiple follicles instead of just one that is the case during a natural menstrual cycle. Then ovulation induction takes place and the mature eggs are collected from the ovaries 36 hours later during a procedure called oocyte retrieval. The eggs are fertilized by sperm in an embryological laboratory. Then the fertilized eggs (embryos) are transferred in the uterus, two, three or five days later. A cycle of IVF takes about two weeks and is the most effective form of assisted reproduction. The procedure can be done using the female partner’s own eggs and male partner’s own sperm or it may involve eggs, sperm or embryos from a known or anonymous donor.
IVF is often offered as a primary treatment for infertility in women around or past the age of 40 with no other infertility factors due to the higher success rates compared to other assisted reproduction techniques.
However IVF is indicated when there are certain medical conditions. It may be the only option in cases of:
* Fallopian tube damage or blockage or previous tubal sterilization.
* Anovulation or various hormonal and ovulation disorders.
* Premature ovarian failure.
* Impaired sperm production or function associated with male partner infertility.
* Unexplained infertility.
* Genetic disorders.
* Fertility preservation for cancer or other health conditions.
For some women, a stimulated IVF cycle is inappropriate because their ovaries cannot respond effectively to stimulation medication, they have health conditions that make it dangerous for them to stimulate, or because stimulation excerbates their problems with egg quality, or they cannot tolerate the stimulation medication or want to avoid it for other reasons. For these women, IVF without stimulation or with minimal stimulation may be the best option. The woman’s natural hormonal cycle is used to prepare the eggs and egg collection is carried out to recover the 1-3 eggs that would otherwise ovulate naturally. IVF/ICSI fertilisation and subsequent embryo transfer is carried out in the same way as for conventional IVF.
Artificial insemination (IUI) is an assisted reproduction technique that involves the injection inside the uterine cavity of sperm that has been prepared in the laboratory to improve its count and motility. This is done via a thin catheter that the doctor passes through the vagina and the cervix of the uterus. The timing of the procedure is significant as it has to be synchronized with ovulation, during either a natural menstrual cycle or a medicated/stimulated one.
The concept of IUI is that couples having trouble getting pregnant can benefit from the exact timing and placement of a more potent sperm. IUI can be of particularly benefit in cases where there is a cervical factor such as cervical scarring, cervical stenosis, or thick cervical mucus, or mild male factor of reduced sperm count and motility, as well as in cases where there is a problem achieving or synchronizing intercourse with ovulation. This method is also used for single women using donated sperm.
Some women face fertility problems which mean that their ovaries do not produce eggs or the quality of the eggs is too weak for fertilization or development. These can be caused by various reasons such as age, endometriosis, premature menopause, chemotherapy or congenital chromosome anomalies.
The above situations can be overcome using donors’ eggs. At Serum we offer a large pool of carefully selected egg donors. We take pride in a wide variety of wonderful, beautiful and proven young donors aged 18-30. For more information CLICK HERE
Some men face fertility problems that cannot be treated. In these cases (azoospermia, teratospermia etc) they can choose the sperm donation solution. In Serum we have the first and biggest Sperm Bank established in Greece in 1991 and we provide a wide variety of best quality donor options. For more information CLICK HERE
For couples or single women who need both donor eggs and donor sperm, we offer fresh double donation, or frozen embryos made with donor eggs and donor sperm.
Once eggs are fertilized, they are grown in special culture media. Monitoring the embryo’s progression, symmetry and fragmentation enables the embryologist to start to estimate its quality (and chance of giving a pregnancy. Culturing to blastocyst on day 5, enables the embryologist to see which embryos are more likely to be euploid (have the right number of chromosomes) and have a higher chance of giving a baby.
(Freezing) & Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) – Embryo cryopreservation involves the freezing of embryos for later use. This is most often done with excess embryos remaining after the transfer of fresh embryos.
Sometimes a woman cannot physically carry a pregnancy. In these cases, she may choose to have another woman carry the pregnancy and deliver the baby for her.
Is an in vitro fertilization technique in which a single spermatozoon is injected directly into an egg. This procedure is most commonly used to overcome male infertility problems, although it may also be used where eggs cannot easily be penetrated by sperm. We are one of the few clinics that don’t charge extra this procedure because we believe every couple, regardless the infertility problem, deserves the most suitable treatment and our embryologists will use all their experience and available techniques to determine whether ICSI is likely to be a good option for you.
Is a technique which allows the embryologist to imitate nature in selecting a spermatozoon capable of fertilization. This is based on the hyaluronan, a biopolymer found in the gel layer around the oocyte. In PICSI an “ideal” spermatozoon binds to the hyaluronan hydrogel that is contained in the disk and is selected and used for ICSI.
Is a technique that involves the selection of a spermatozoon which has external as well as internal normal morphology. This is feasible by using an inverted microscope that provides a magnifying power around 6000 times more than those which are usually made for ICSI. The above fact allows the detailed observation of the inner content of the spermatozoon. After the selection, the most suitable spermatozoon is used for ICSI.
Some patients may have a family history of diseases that are carried on their chromosomes, such as cystic fibrosis. In order to reduce the risk of having a child with such a disease, the patient might opt for genetic testing of embryos.
Assisted hatching may improve pregnancy rates in some women undergoing IVF. In assisted hatching, an opening is formed in the shell (the zona) surrounding the embryo before the embryo is transferred to the uterus.