The advances in reproductive medicine have been many. As the New Year begins, here are FertilityAuthority’s four trends you should watch.
1 Genetic screening of embryos for aneuploidy. A normal embryo has 23 pairs of chromosomes, including an XX or an XY to determine sex. Aneuploidy is the term used to describe an abnormal number of chromosomes, and majority of embryos with aneuploidy will not implant in the uterus or will result in a miscarriage. Many fertility clinics are now offering preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) for aneuploidy. One method that is gaining much attention is called comprehensive chromosomal analysis (CCS) tests a Day 5 or 6 embryo that is subsequently frozen and transferred during a frozen cycle. Women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages or recurrent IVF failure, or those who are of advanced maternal age, may want to ask their fertility doctors about PGS or CCS for aneuploidy screening.
2 Single embryo transfer (SET) as a safer and equally effective option in IVF. After examining a variety of studies to compare single vs. double embryo transfers, the Practice Committees of the ASRM and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) issued a report in 2011 recommending an increase in the use of elective single embryo transfer (SET) in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) that had a good prognosis. The conclusion was that SET could significantly reduce the rate of multiple births without affecting pregnancy rates. Fertility patients under 35, those with more than one high-quality embryo available for transfer, women in their first or second IVF cycle, women who have had prior successful IVF cycles and women who are using donor eggs may want to ask their fertility doctor about SET.
3 Egg freezing as a choice for preserving fertility. Information about egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) for fertility preservation is a must for women who are undergoing cancer treatment. And many fertility clinics are offering this option to women who are have not found the right partner or who have delayed childbirth for other reasons. Successful freezing and thawing of eggs is improving rapidly, and the methods will continue to grow and improve in the future.
4 Big advancement in male infertility research. Just as 2011 ended, German and Israeli researchers published a study in the journal Nature that they were able to create mouse sperm in a laboratory. The researchers used “germ cells,” which are cells in testicles responsible for semen production, and they grew the sperm by surrounding the germ cells in a compound called “agar jelly,” which created an environment similar to that found in testicles. This could be a a major breakthrough that would lead the way to producing artificial human semen that could help infertile men father their own children.