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… and if it doesn’t work?

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Doctors, medical assistants and embryologists in the laboratory, IT department, hygiene specialists, Info Center etc. We, as a team at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech dedicate our entire know-how and passion to helping infertile couples achieve a pregnancy with the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART).

In many cases, the patients are able to deliver the good news to us that their pregnancy test had come back positive and, later on, fetal heartbeat could be detected via ultrasound.
We particularly enjoy receiving cards or letters from happy parents in which they express their gratitude after the birth of their baby.

However, there are couples who get no chance of experiencing this kind of happiness. Read more…

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“Single Embryo Transfer” in IVF – Facts and Background

Part 5 of the series »Fertility treatment process«

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“Does the transfer of two embryos increase my chances of becoming pregnant?”

This question is frequently asked by couples who want to learn more about the envisaged fertility treatment – for instance when they join us at our monthly information evenings in Salzburg. (→ for details, please click here)

My answer seems quite clear: “only marginally (5-7%)”

Why is that?

Read more…

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“How old is too old?”

Fertility and advanced maternal age

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It is not only the term itself but also the definition of “advanced age” in connection with the desire to have children which gives rise to numerous discussions.

In English speaking countries the term “advanced maternal age” is most commonly used for all women aged 35 or more at the time of having their baby. Childbearing in women aged 45-49 years is referred to as “very advanced maternal age” and “extreme advanced maternal age” is used for those women giving birth to a child at the age of 50 or older.

The fact that today there are more and more women choosing to delay motherhood has a major impact on the number of children per women/couple, thus also affecting demographic developments. The assessment of the fertility potential is thus essential for being able to realistically judge the probability of success with IVF treatments.
Read more…

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Fertility Test for Everybody

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Sperm-Check using a smartphone app, ovulation tests, testing of hormone levels using ready-to-use test kits …
Fertility tests for self-/home testing are not entirely new, but obviously there are ever more inventive products featuring supposedly greater user friendliness. This, of course, arouses the interest of many men and women.

US researchers have recently presented a prototype of an accessory for smartphones that allows to analyze a semen sample for sperm concentration and motility (according to WHO criteria) using an appropriate App. The goal is to offer a fertility test for men that is simple and reasonably priced in the same way as are pregnancy tests, the scientists say.

But do such tests for men who wish to conceive a child actually provide sufficiently meaningful results? Read more…

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Implantation rate

[← back to the article overview of the series »Success Rate«]


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If practitioners of reproductive medicine talk about the implantation rate, they mean the percentage of those embryos that implanted themselves into the uterine lining after having been transferred to the womb. Fetal heartbeat can be visualized via ultrasound in order to definitely confirm the implantation of the embryo.

If we assume, for example, that 100 couples undergo IVF treatment involving the transfer of two embryos, resulting in the successful implantation of 50 embryos, this would mean an implantation rate of 25%.

The implantation rate depends on the age of the woman and is directly related to the number and quality of the embryos transferred. What does this mean with regard to the prospects of becoming pregnant? Are the chances significantly higher following the transfer of two embryos? Read more…

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Why an embryo does not “spill out”?

A biological-physical approach regarding embryo implantation in fertility treatment

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Among patients undergoing fertility treatment (IVF/ICSI/IMSI), the following question is repeatedly raised in the relevant forums:

“Could it be possible that my embryo may somehow ‘spill out’ of the uterus after embryo transfer?”

In this respect, it should be noted that the uterine cavity is not a true cavity in the classical sense of the term. The cavity is completely covered by the endometrium (lining of the womb), i.e. there is no empty space (see graphical representation of the uterus).

This means that the opposite sides of the endometrium are in contact with each other. Between them, there is a liquid film covering the mucosa where the embryo sticks to. As an example, imagine some moist leaves sticking to a glass pane, a phenomenon which is only due to the leaf’s “airtight sticking” to the pane. Although the endometrium is not completely level, the viscose liquid film is sufficient to make the embryo adhere to it.

This biological background takes us to two factors that are given by the laws of physics. Read more…

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Pregnancy rate

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Of course, patients often ask me about pregnancy rates achieved by our IVF centers. Quite often this question is linked with the notion that the pregnancy rate can provide precise forecasts on the successful outcome of fertility treatment. Actually, a uniform definition does not exist. It is therefore necessary to make a clear differentiation. In order to assess a couple’s chances for a successful treatment outcome, it is always crucial to consider their personal situation.

What exactly does this mean?
Read more…

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Love in Times of Egg Donation

Study on the relationship between mother and child after IVF treatment using donated eggs

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Some couples with an unfulfilled desire to have a child have a long way to go until they have achieved their goal of starting a family – inseminations, hormonal treatments used for ‘artificial insemination’, IVF therapies, cryo cycles, etc. Some couples, however, need a “Plan B”: An egg donation.

With donated oocytes, these couples are able to realize their dream of having a child. The donated oocyte is inseminated by the husband’s sperm. Subsequently, the embryo is transferred to his partner’s womb which has been prepared accordingly. If everything works, she will give birth to a baby nine months later.

The woman delivering the baby is the child’s mother, from a “biological” and social point of view. However she is not the child’s genetic mother. I know from conversations I have had with patients that many egg-recipients are concerned with the following question:

“I am worried that I might not love the child just as much as if it was conceived with my own eggs?”

Read more…

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“What does this mean for us?”

[← back to the article overview of the series »Success Rate«]


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When it comes to choosing an IVF center, among other things, couples seeking fertility support want to learn more about the clinic’s performance figures (e.g. pregnancy rate, live birth rate). In some countries, IVF centers are required by law to publish their results and make them freely available. In countries where this is not the case, the disclosure of such data occurs on a voluntary basis. In both cases, for most couples the following question arises when taking a closer look at the outcomes presented:

“But what does this actually mean for us?”

Read more…

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Assessing the chances

[← back to the article overview of the series “Success Rate”]


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Couples considering IVF treatment are accompanied by high hopes and expectations towards their treating specialists. During the initial consultation, most of them raise the key question regarding their chances of achieving pregnancy through reproductive technologies.

Predicting the outcome of fertility treatment is always a medical challenge, as there are numerous factors which may influence the individual chances of getting pregnant and giving birth.

Read more…