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…
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…
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…
“What can we expect from the IVF center of our choice?”
FAQs on the services and quality standards of an IVF center, using the example of the IVF Centers Prof. Zech
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.
“Good Swimmers” – but is this enough?
Additional information as part of the semen analysis can be provided by molecular biological assessment of sperm quality
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…
Diagnosis: PCO Syndrome
A syndrome with a complex nature as the potential cause of the involuntary childlessness
One evening, my friend Gudrun called, telling me that she had been diagnosed with PCO syndrome by her gynecologist. She asked me to exactly explain the disorder to her.
Gudrun is a healthy woman in her early 30s. She has taken the pill for several years for contraceptive purposes and to regulate her somewhat irregular menstrual cycle. Now that she has met Mr. Right and they wish to start a family, she has stopped taking the pill. But nothing happened so far – no menstrual bleeding and no pregnancy occurred. At first, Gudrun took a wait-and-see attitude. After 4 months, she went to see her gynecologist and was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). “But I have a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and sufficient exercise,” says Gudrun. She had used the Internet to learn more about possible causes. Now she was at a loss what to do. She needed a personal clarification and remembered that I work for a fertility center.
Increased Risk of Hypertension due to IVF?
A new study has created a great deal of uncertainty among patients
A recently published study (see link) conducted by a Swiss working group on the increased risk of high blood pressure in children conceived by assisted reproductive technologies (ART) is currently making big waves, not least through nonstop media coverage. Additionally, this was fueled by some statements made by the senior author of this publication. He insists that IVF should be considered as a cardiovascular risk factor, similar to the risk from smoking (NZZ of 7 September 2018).
Thus, the study suggests a direct correlation between IVF treatments and specific health risks. This, of course, leads to much uncertainty among couples who either have already started treatment or who are still considering the use of assisted reproductive technologies. Against this background, it is even more important for us at the IVF Zentren Prof. Zech to provide a scientifically well-founded analysis of this study in order to enable our patients to make informed, fact-based decisions. To this end, we have published a response letter (more to follow) in the specialist magazine Journal of the American College of Cardiology where the study was published. In that respect, we would like to give a few words of explanation. Read more…
“What are our chances of achieving a pregnancy resulting in the birth of a healthy child?”
FAQs on genetics within the context of fertility treatment
IVF treatment with PGD/PGS might be an option for infertile couples who, despite all efforts, have still not become pregnant and whose diagnostic findings seem to be linked to the failure. However, the option is only available for couples who meet all the medical and legal requirements.
Basically, there are two terms for the aforementioned investigations, though referring to two distinct techniques (for more details see “links”). On the one hand, there is “Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis” (PGD) – in German-speaking countries also referred to as “Pre-Implantation Diagnosis” (PID). On the other hand, there is “Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening” (PGS). These are analytic diagnostic procedures that may, for instance, be used in cases of individuals who are known carriers of a genetic disorder and/or have a history of a genetic disease in the family, recurrent miscarriage or multiple failed IVF attempts.
This underlines the importance of ensuring comprehensive consulting and clarification of the couple’s initial situation by an experienced medical specialist. Dr. Maximilian Murtinger, Medical Director of the IVF Centers Prof. Zech – Bregenz, is familiar with the questions that preoccupy the couples concerned: Read more…
“It had finally worked out and I became pregnant with our little ‘polar bear’. Since yesterday, we are the proud parents of a healthy baby girl and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
In this way or in a very similar one, couples talk about their experiences gained during IVF treatment involving a so-called ‘cryo cycle’. The procedure comprises the initial freezing of the embryo (fertilized oocyte in the early stages of its embryonic development) in order to thaw it at a later point in time and transfer it to the uterus (embryo transfer).
But why does the attending doctor opt for this kind of therapy? Read more…