Advances in Assisted Reproductive Technologies


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Reproductive health

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis can also be utilised for translocations and single gene defects, eg. Figure 3. Embryo biopsy is performed for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and detects aneuploidy, single gene defects, translocations and is usually indicated for recurrent miscarriage or advanced maternal age. Developments in our understanding of embryo biology have allowed scientists to identify embryos with the best pregnancy potential by observation of progress through the first few days after creation.

While a small percentage of the embryos which do not continue growing may have in fact survived in vivo if transferred earlier, many are destined never to implant and thus extended culture provides another means by which to help identify the better embryos from a cohort.

Another promising tool is the measurement of glucose uptake by embryos, but this has not yet reached a stage where it can routinely be used to assess embryo competence. Multiple birth rates with IVF are now dropping as a result of increasing utilisation of single-embryo transfer, particularly in Australia and Scandinavia. It is interesting that the uptake of single embryo transfer is greater in countries that offer at least partially subsidised fertility treatment.

Cancer is not uncommon in young people, with approximately 1 in young girls and women being diagnosed with cancer before the age of 35 years. For many young cancer patients, treatment offers a very real chance of cure and being able to have children in the future is a genuine and appropriate expectation. Many cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy and pelvic radiation, can cause ovarian failure Table 3.

Even when menstruation and ovarian function returns after chemotherapy is completed, there is still a very real risk of subsequent early onset ovarian failure. Various options are available to young women for fertility preservation before commencement of chemotherapy or radiotherapy and include oocyte freezing, embryo freezing and ovarian tissue excision and freezing.

Assisted reproduction: an end to traditional family values? - Sophie Zadeh - TEDxCambridgeUniversity

In addition, it may be possible to protect the ovary against the toxic effects of the chemotherapy by co-administration of a long acting gonadotrophin releasing hormone GnRH agonist. It is of absolute importance that young women and their families are offered the opportunity for full discussion about future fertility, the risks and options, even if it is not going to be feasible to perform any sparing treatment.

Excellent survival can now be expected using new freeze-thawing techniques after ovarian stimulation, with an average of 10 oocytes resulting in two or three embryos being available later on. Embryo freezing is obviously most useful for young couples in long term relationships. Ovarian tissue freezing provides a potentially huge supply of oocytes in the cortical strips, but only 17 babies have been born to date after ovarian tissue grafting and this must still be considered a somewhat experimental treatment option.

Sperm freezing should always be considered for adolescent males and young men about to commence chemotherapy or testicular surgery. If producing a sample is difficult, then testicular biopsy under local or light general anaesthetic can be considered. There is currently much research into ways to mature sperm in vitro from very immature forms, and progress in this area will help us to provide preservation options to very young boys as well as adolescents.


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For women with extremely poor quality oocytes or premature ovarian failure, donation of oocytes offers the opportunity of a very real chance of success. Similarly, for men with azoospermia and no possibility of sperm to be obtained by testicular biopsy, donor sperm is available. Women with no uterus or a markedly abnormal uterus, or who are at risk of serious medical sequelae if they carry a pregnancy, are able to create a family using a gestational carrier surrogate. Legislative requirements differ in different states in Australia but altruistic surrogacy is possible if women can find their own carrier.

It is now possible for lesbian women and single women to utilise donor sperm to assist them to create their own family. Many women in their late reproductive years without a partner may not wish to take the giant step of single parenthood but instead wish to preserve some oocytes for the future.

As survival of oocytes after freeze-thawing improves, this becomes more of an option, but it must be remembered that there is a high rate of attrition from oocyte to usable embryo.

Assisted reproductive technology

Over the past few years there have been numerous scientific developments that have advanced our understanding of infertility and provided us with the tools to improve both the success of infertility treatments and their safety. We are, however, still limited by our inability to combat poor and usually age related oocyte quality. Until we can overcome this hurdle, we will need to rely on early and appropriate recognition of infertility and prompt treatment, especially for women aged in their late 30s and early 40s.

Greater insight into oocyte and embryo biology will drive further improvements in fertility treatments and perhaps, ultimately, the prevention of infertility. The author has received payment and expenses from pharmaceutical sponsors for attending meetings. To open click on the link, your computer or device will try and open the file using compatible software. To save the file right click or option-click the link and choose "Save As Follow the prompts to chose a location.

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Re-engineering fertility

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Assisted reproductive technology - Wikipedia

Their work, later granting Edwards with a Nobel prize was a major stepping stone in the world of reproductive medicine. Since then, IVF technology has become more common and accessible and is helping each year thousands of people struggling with infertility to conceive. In Canada alone, there were over 28, IVF cycles in which resulted in 6, live births. In celebration of 4 decades of Assisted Reproductive Technology ART we gathered some of the latest developments in the field that are now available for couples trying to conceive:. Preimplantation genetic screening PGS — is a highly specialized genetic testing for screening chromosomal abnormalities in embryos.

Fertility: Ask The Experts

On day five after fertilization occurs, the embryologist will remove few cells from the developing embryo that will be used to verify the presence of all 23 chromosomes. These embryos are more likely to result in an ongoing pregnancy with a lower risk of miscarriages. The process of PGS is illustrated in this great animated video. In PGD the lab will test for a specific genetic condition cystic fibrosis, for example before transferring the embryo to the uterus. PGD allows couples that carry a genetic disease to ensure their offspring will not be affected by this disease.

In regular IVF the embryo will be grown in an incubator for few days before implanted in the uterus.


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  7. In this technique that was recently approved in the US and Canada, the sperm and egg are mixed in a lab and are placed in a tiny capsule that is inserted into the vagina for a five days incubation period. After five days the capsule is removed, and the embryos are implanted inside the uterus as usual. How many embryos should I transfer to have one baby? Why are we worried about twin pregnancies? Selecting a fertility clinic and ART provider that will address your specific needs can be difficult.

    To select a fertility clinic in your state, you can also use the Interactive Clinic Tables to view the clinic profiles, services, and success rates for the latest reporting year, as well as for previous reporting years. We also recommend that you ask questions to help you learn more about the fertility clinic, its services, and staff. Fertility treatments often result in multiple births birth of two or more infants. It is important to know that carrying and delivering twins and higher order multiples is associated with higher risk of complications for both women and infants.

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