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. Artikel lesen
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: Artikel lesen
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). Artikel lesen
When analyzing success rates in fertility treatment, it often turns out that the stated values refer to cumulative pregnancy rates. But what exactly is meant by this type of pregnancy rate?
Cumulative is derived from the Latin word “cumulare” (to accumulate).
According to experts, the cumulative pregnancy rate takes account of all pregnancies achieved by IVF following several successive embryo transfers. Irrespective of whether these embryos derive from so-called “fresh cycles” (the fertilized oocyte develops inside an incubator and is usually transferred to the uterus on the fifth day of embryonic development) or from “cryo cycles” (for some reasons, the growing embryo can be frozen/cryopreserved, the frozen-thawed embryo can then be used in a future transfer).
Before and during fertility treatment, patients are often faced with a lot of impressions and information. Sometimes, however, this can be highly confusing, giving rise to a large number of questions.
After asking around, I discussed the issues with Univ. Prof. Dr. Herbert Zech, a specialist in reproductive medicine and founder of the IVF centers of the same name. Below please find his answers to some frequently asked questions:
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? Artikel lesen
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?” Artikel lesen
“If there’s a way to do it better: find it.”
Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931)
If we interpret this quote by Thomas Edison, the continual pursuit of improvements may (as, for example, in the case of Edison) lead to new inventions or to the improvement of already existing technologies.
It is a matter of finding ways, enabling us to achieve a certain quality standard that is subject to constant review and improvement. This requires an established structure, for example with respect to the workflows in a company.
Here, experts are referring to quality management systems aiming, among other things, at implementing appropriate measures and building up a trusting relationship with customers.
What exactly is meant by this when dealing with the working procedures of an IVF center?
Cutting-edge medical procedures provide women with the opportunity to have some of their oocytes frozen and “stored” as a precautionary measure. This is intended to preserve the positive status quo of their fertility at the time of cryopreservation, which in turn represents an option for achieving a pregnancy using their own “younger” oocytes in a future IVF cycle.
The underlying motives can be of both of a sociological nature, as well as of a medical nature. Statutory provisions do not exist to the same extent for both aforementioned aspects.
Thus, for example, there are countries where this procedure can be carried out only if medically indicated, for example in patients undergoing chemotherapy which may have a major damaging impact on their oocytes.
Genetic disorders may cause severe diseases in humans and are known to have adverse effects on fertility, which may even lead to miscarriages. A closer look into these genetic disorders suggests that there are two main reasons for this:
Chromosomal disorders and gene mutations.
In chromosomal disorders, a distinction is made between numerical anomalies (changes in chromosome number – aneuploidy) and structural anomalies (changes in chromosome structure – e.g. translocations). According to experts, these chromosomal alterations are responsible for around half of all spontaneous miscarriages.
Gene mutations involve changes to the genetic makeup of a single gene, gene segment or several genes, resulting in so-called monogenetic or polygenetic diseases. One of the best-known examples of such a disease is cystic fibrosis – also known as mucoviscidosis – which is the most common inherited monogenic disease in Western Europe.
The linking of reproductive medicine and genetics is thus becoming more and more important. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the well-known term Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).
Infertility Possible causes in women
Possible causes in men
Why is age a reason for?
Fertility treatment Hormonal stimulation
Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis
"Social Freezing" / "Medical Freezing"
Fertility treatment processPart 1 | Initial Consultation
Part 2 | Ovarian Stimulation
Part 3 | Ultrasound Scan
Part 4 | Egg retrieval
Part 5 | Embryo Transfer
Success rate - What to look forPart 1 | "What does this mean for us?"
Part 2 | Assessing the chances
Part 3 | Pregnancy rate
Part 4 | Implantation rate
Part 5 | Cumulative pregnancy rate