SGF’s Guide to 2017’s Fertility Innovation in Treatment

16th March 2017

When traveling to America for donor egg treatment, patients want to know they are receiving the highest level of care and latest treatment possible. At Shady Grove Fertility, we know that staying on the cutting edge of fertility research is the best way to provide you the best quality treatment available. Therefore, we make continual study and practice refinement among our top priorities.

“But not every new idea or new technique that you see on television or read about in a medical journal is a practical solution for couples trying to conceive a baby,” reminds Shady Grove Fertility Medical Director, Eric A. Widra, M.D. With new fertility innovations taking place all the time, how do you know what’s really available to you—or what will be available to you soon?

Knowing which options are viable and those that need further research can help you to determine your best course of action. Here’s your guide to what you should watch in fertility innovation and what’s not worth your time.

Watch: Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS)

Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is the process of assessing embryo quality prior to implantation. While not a new practice, “people are increasingly using PGS,” says Dr. Widra. He continues, “Because of this screening, we’re no longer putting abnormal embryos into the uterus and can, therefore, increase pregnancy success rates.”

Dr. Widra continues, “Preimplantation genetic screening often results in a reduction in the pool of embryos from which a couple has to select. While this can be seen as a disadvantage, it is mitigated by the fact that the embryos that remain, while fewer in number, have a greater chance of successful implantation and eventual live birth.”

This procedure is similar to preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). In PGS, however, fertility specialists assess only the number of chromosomes in the embryo. PGD, on the other hand, allows for the identification of specific genetic diseases or chromosomal abnormalities, including translocations.

Not: Sperm Generation

In 2016, researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) explored the feasibility of sperm development. While their findings seem promising—particularly for the approximately 30 percent of couples experiencing male-factor infertility, NICHD’s research has proven successful only in laboratory settings, not in real-world application.

“While it would certainly be beneficial to artificially produce sperm outside of the body, this technique won’t be coming to market soon and is not yet a dependable solution for patients seeking solutions for male infertility,” advises Dr. Widra.

Watch: Three-Parent Embryos

“Through the use of three-parent embryo techniques, clinicians have been able to help women with mitochondrial diseases reproduce without worry. Doctors can fortify the women’s eggs with healthy mitochondria and, in doing so, prevent mothers from passing their potentially debilitating diseases on to their children,” adds Dr. Widra.

“While life-changing for those dealing with mitochondrial diseases, these diseases are quite rare, so the application of this technique is relatively limited,” Dr. Widra advises.

Some researchers have theorized that these techniques could also be used to improve the quality of older eggs, though this theory hasn’t been proven true. Additionally, the FDA does not support the use of this procedure for this purpose.

A Bright Future in Fertility Innovation

“While the medical community has yet to refine techniques to the point where we can help every couple experiencing infertility successfully conceive, scientific advancements and medical technology continue to bring us much closer to this goal. As research continues into 2017 and beyond, we expect the frequency of success of fertility procedures in general, and the birth rate in particular, to continue to rise,” Dr. Widra adds.

At Shady Grove Fertility, we are dedicated to helping you on your path to parenthood. We work with couples to create customized plans, tailored to ensure the best possible outcomes for each set of prospective parents. Providing compassionate and comprehensive patient care is our practice’s top priority.

Medical contribution by: Eric A. Widra, M.D. Shady Grove Fertility Medical Director

Infertility is a big mountain to climb alone. Let us partner with you and help you reach your goal of parenthood. For more information about advancements in donor egg treatment at Shady Grove Fertility, please email International Patient Liaison, Amanda Segal.


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