fertility treatment BLOG - IVF Zentren Prof. Zech
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Diagnosis: PCO Syndrome

A syndrome with a complex nature as the potential cause of the involuntary childlessness

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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. Read more…

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Increased Risk of Hypertension due to IVF?

A new study has created a great deal of uncertainty among patients

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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…

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“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

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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…

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Hello “little polar bear”!

Cryo cycle after IVF

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“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…

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Dealing with the Loss

Part 1 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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As already announced, our topic-series shall, inter alia, give you an idea of how important it may be to seek psychological assistance after a miscarriage – in particular when the couple still shares the desire of having children. The initial focus will be on dealing with the experience of loss.

A miscarriage is not just that an existing pregnancy does not develop any further, but the intense longing and desire for a child are shattered, at least temporarily. This is why every miscarriage is a traumatic event. Read more…

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Close to nature

IVF treatment involving blastocyst culture

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The aim of this medical specialty can already be inferred from the term Reproductive Medicine. It means understanding and copying nature right down to the smallest details, i.e. supporting human procreation using medical-technical procedures designed to help sub-fertile couples. Based on current scientific knowledge, an important role is played by a treatment option called blastocyst culture.

During a thorough medical consultation at the beginning of each fertility treatment, the doctor, together with the couple, will decide on the most suitable form of treatment, based on laboratory results, diagnostic findings etc. Details on the medical indication, legal framework conditions as well as on the sequence of the treatment will also be taken into account during this consultation. Read more…

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Trying to conceive after a miscarriage

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A miscarriage is undoubtedly one of the worst things that can happen to a couple on their path towards their long awaited child. For those couples, it is something of a personal disaster to give up on their dream for which they had accepted much hardship and in which they had placed great hopes. At first, it seems to be almost impossible for them to recover from the shock and finally overcome this personal tragedy, especially when they do not seek help from an uninvolved third party. It is, therefore, no surprise that this is still considered a taboo subject by many couples concerned.

Who can they turn to for help in this painful situation? Read more…

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“What are the situations where egg donation may help?”

FAQs on egg donation

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The couples’ requirements may vary considerably when it comes to achieving a pregnancy via egg donation.
There are situations where couples cannot achieve a successful pregnancy with the woman’s own oocytes (e.g. cancer treatment, genetic diseases, premature menopause) and would therefore have to consider IVF treatment with egg donation.

First, however, each couple’s initial situation has to be assessed in a professional and comprehensive way and any questions the couple may have must be answered. For example by MUDr. Libor Hradecký Ph.D., the Medical Director of the IVF Centers Prof. Zech in the Czech Republic. For 15 years now, he and his Pilsen-based team have helped couples realize their dream of having a child through IVF treatment with donor eggs.

As an experienced practitioner of reproductive medicine, he knows about the issues couples considering this kind of treatment are most concerned about: Read more…

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Sperm Quality

Assessment and Significance in Fertility Treatments

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Egg and sperm cell are of equal importance for the development of the embryo. A closer look at the sperm factor suggests that the assessment of sperm quality followed by the selection of appropriate spermatozoa for the fertilization of the oocyte are important steps on the path towards the much longed-for child.

During fertilization, signaling cascades are triggered inside the oocyte by the fertilizing sperm. During the fusion of the sperm and oocyte plasma, the release of a factor carried within the sperm head changes the calcium concentration in the oocyte cytoplasm. This again induces a series of subsequent reactions, finally enabling the fertilization of the oocyte.

It will therefore become all the more important to perform a comprehensive analysis of sperm morphology (shape, structure). An existing impairment (e.g. identification of vacuoles = crater-like structures in the sperm head) may have negative impacts. Already at the end of the 1990s, electron microscopic investigations revealed a correlation between the presence of vacuoles and the impairment of natural male fertility (Berkovitz et al., 1999). Read more…

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An impuls towards parenthood

Hormonal stimulation in fertility treatment

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Precisely tailored to the woman’s individual situation, her body is prepared for pregnancy prior to receiving fertility treatment. The ovaries are stimulated with hormones, which is an important first step towards the long-awaited child.

The targeted administration of hormones is intended to induce the maturation of multiple follicles, each containing an oocyte. In medical terms, this kind of treatment is referred to as ovarian stimulation (→ details). Read more…