fertility treatment BLOG - IVF Zentren Prof. Zech
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“IMSI versus ICSI”

| Study on the potential impacts of laboratory techniques used on the live birth rates and the health of children conceived by IVF

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IVF treatment involves the fertilization of an oocyte by a sperm under the microscope. To this end, different techniques may be used, such as ICSI and IMSI. In order to learn more about the role played by these laboratory techniques in the assessment of sperm quality and subsequently also in a successful therapy outcome, we intend to closely examine the matter, while taking into account the findings of a recent study.

For the sake of a better understanding, we would like to start by briefly outlining the entire cycle of therapy. Controlled ovarian stimulation is the first step in IVF treatment. Follicle stimulating hormones are used to induce the development of multiple egg-containing follicles in a woman’s ovaries. Transvaginal oocyte retrieval is used to remove these oocytes from the ovaries. Subsequently, the quality of the collected oocytes is analyzed (diagnosis of oocyte quality). While the oocytes are being collected, the male partner is asked to produce a semen sample by masturbation. The obtained oocytes will thus be fertilized with the prepared sperm outside of the woman’s body in a laboratory procedure. In this context, there are several techniques, such as IMSI and ICSI which also serve the purpose of evaluating sperm quality (sperm diagnostics). Read more…

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Support through hypnosis

| Part 3 of the topic-series » Trying to conceive after a miscarriage«

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[← article overview of the topic-series »Trying to conceive after a miscarriage«]

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Depending on the intensity of the desire to have children, a miscarriage may have a shattering psychological effect for those concerned. This is often perceived as an additional pressure, particularly in cases where fertility treatment is reconsidered to realize the dream of having a baby. Thus, the question arises as to how we can support these patients and relieve the mental strain on them. Medications can only be used to a very limited extent when it comes to alleviating the psychological effects of a miscarriage. Read more…

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“And here she is… THE LOVELY LOUISE”

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… was the headline in the British “Daily Mail” many years ago, because in 1978 Louise Brown was born in Oldham (GB). She was the world’s first so-called “test-tube baby” – that is to say, the first human born as a result of in vitro fertilization (IVF). By her birth, the world celebrated a major milestone in assisted reproductive technology, while at the same time offering hope to countless couples.

Back then, the physiologist Robert Edwards and the gynecologist Patrick Steptoe performed the “artificial insemination”. This laid the foundation for today’s reproductive medicine. In 2010, Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the development of in vitro fertilization.

Meanwhile, most of the first “test-tube babies” are parents themselves – the same is true for Louise Brown who has written a book about her life. Read more…

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“Large or Small?”

| Study on how to optimize ovarian stimulation/follicular aspiration

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Fertility treatment usually starts with the stimulation phase. This means that the woman has to undergo customized hormone therapy in order to induce her ovaries to produce multiple follicles, each containing an oocyte. The number and growth of follicles within the ovaries are closely monitored by ultrasound examinations.

During the stimulation cycle, the ovarian follicles do not grow at the same pace, resulting in the presence of follicles of various sizes. This growth determines the optimal timing, for both the induction of final oocyte maturation (“Triggering Ovulation”) and subsequently the collection of the ova. The right timing is finally decisive for the success of the treatment. If the duration of ovarian stimulation is either too short or too long, this may reduce the number of follicles containing so-called competent oocytes. By this we mean the ability of an oocyte to mature, become fertilized and develop into an embryo capable of reaching the blastocyst stage and implant itself into the uterus. Numerous factors can play a role here. Do they also include follicular size? Read more…

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“I’m not a real woman, because I’m not able to have children”

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Women and their partners – who, for a long time, have been struggling in vain to conceive – talk about the above and many other thoughts and feelings associated with their situation.

It is in particular the social environment that fuels such thoughts by quotes like: “Now you are married. And what about…? When will you finally have a baby?”. One feels embarrassed and even slightly ashamed and does not know how to deal with the fact of not being able to get pregnant while other couples seem to have no difficulties at all.

According to statistics, one in five couples is in a similar situation, i.e. affected by unintentional childlessness. So, what could be done? Read more…

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What is actually meant by miscarriage?

| Part 2 of our topic series »Trying to conceive after a miscarriage«

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[← article overview of the topic-series »Trying to conceive after a miscarriage«]

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If a pregnancy cannot be brought to term but instead ends in spontaneous abortion or miscarriage, this could be a devastating experience, especially for those couples who had long been trying in vain to get pregnant and have decided to finally undergo fertility treatment. In order to be able to cope with this traumatic event and find out what exactly happened, a sound medical explanation or diagnosis could be very helpful. The prerequisite for this, however, is the clear determination of the gestational age at the time of miscarriage and the type of pregnancy loss. Read more…

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Spermiogram

| What’s possible nowadays when it comes to the assessment of male fertility

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The causes of unwanted childlessness may vary widely from one couple to another and therefore require an individual approach. This is why the male factor is moving more and more into the focus of attention of science.

Today, we know that spermatozoa ought to be investigated with considerably greater accuracy in order to recognize any possible disorders. Such disorders might have an impact on the fertilization of the ovum, on embryonic development and possibly also on the health of the child.

What is a spermiogram?

A spermiogram (semen analysis) enables to obtain an overview regarding male sperm quality by analyzing and evaluating the semen in the laboratory by means of special methods and technologies. The results obtained provide information on a male’s reproductive capacity. Read more…

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Hypnosis in fertility treatment

| When does it make sense and how does it work?

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Icon image | http://www.brandt-hypnose.at

Hypnosis to quit smoking, for weight loss, as an aid to psychotherapy …
… to name just a few areas that hypnotherapy has been successfully applied to. But what about using this “tool” when dealing with unintended childlessness and during IVF treatment?

As a clinical psychologist at the IVF Zentren Prof. Zech I have for many years concerned myself very closely with this question. At our IVF centers, joint studies have been carried out into the issue. These studies were based on our general approach which is to focus on the personal and medical situation of the couple in order to find the best possible mode of treatment for them. Depending on the initial situation, supporting measures, such as hypnotherapy may be used. Read more…

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“What can we expect from the IVF center of our choice?”

| FAQs on the services and quality standards of a fertility clinic, using the IVF Centers Prof. Zech as an example

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When it comes to choosing an IVF center, most people´s decisions are based on the pregnancy rate obtained by the center in question. This is quite understandable. However, one should be careful not to rely on one single success parameter, but first ask the following question: “What can we expect from the IVF center of our choice?”

This means that certain requirements pertaining to the IVF center need to be clarified in advance, thus ensuring that the treatment provided is suitable to bring about a successful pregnancy outcome.

Prof. Dr. Herbert Zech, an experienced physician and founder of the IVF centers of the same name, answers to the most commonly asked questions by couples seeking fertility support. Read more…

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“Good Swimmers” – but is this enough?

| Additional information as part of the semen analysis can be provided by molecular biological assessment of sperm quality

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In the evaluation of male fertility through the analysis of a semen sample under a microscope, the desired outcome is to see a lot of “good swimmers” among the spermatozoa – although this still says little or nothing about their morphology and inner structure. Thanks to modern technologies, it is now possible to go into this in greater detail. This is done by extending semen analysis beyond the existing WHO criteria by adding so-called molecular diagnostics.

WHO criteria to serve as the basis

A spermiogram (semen analysis) implies an analysis of the ejaculate on the basis of standardized investigation methods and associated reference values laid down by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This spermiogram forms the foundation and provides a first overview of the situation as regards concentration, motility, vitality, structure and morphology of the spermatozoa. However, when dealing with involuntary childlessness, these parameters alone may not be sufficient for reliable detection of male factor infertility. Read more…