fertility treatment BLOG - IVF Zentren Prof. Zech
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PGD, PGS, PID, PGT …

Terms for Genetic Diagnostic Methods in Fertility Treatment

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When it comes to genetic analysis in reproductive medicine, there exist a number of commonly heard terms, such as Pre-Implantation Diagnosis (PID), Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing (PGT), Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS).

But how can they be distinguished from one another? Are there any differences between them?

I had been asked these questions during one of our regular fertility-information evenings (→ Locations, dates and contents). In the following text I would like to go into more detail on my answers.
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The precautionary freezing of egg cells

Different motives – Different regulations

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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.

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When the path to parenthood is “blocked”

Therapy options in connection with the treatment of blocked/damaged fallopian tubes

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Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes are among the main causes of unwanted childlessness and are seen as classical indications for IVF treatment (“In vitro fertilization”).
Tubal damage is frequently associated with the accumulation of serous, inflammatory or post-inflammatory fluids. We are referring here to a condition called hydro- or sactosalpinx.

What are the possible implications of this concomitant phenomenon and what therapy options are available?

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Genetics in reproductive medicine

Background and Significance

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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).

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Towards happiness of fatherhood

TESE – sperm retrieval procedure for “in vitro fertilization”

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IVF treatment (IVF/ICSI/IMSI) involves the fertilization of the egg cell by a sperm outside the female body in the laboratory. In some cases, however, sperms have to be collected directly from the man’s testes during a minor surgical intervention called TESE – “Testicular Sperm Extraction”.

The TESE procedure is used in men with a very low sperm count (cryptozoospermia, OAT-syndrome) or no sperm at all in the ejaculate (e.g. due to blocked seminal ducts).

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“From the first second…”

…Companion of couples undergoing fertility treatment – the Info Center team of the IVF Centers Prof. Zech

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As a service point for help-seeking childless couples, the Info Centers, at the private clinic Group’s seven European locations, are an important counseling and information platform for couples before, during and after the treatment. Every day, hundreds of couples concerned readily make use of this service and receive the relevant answers to their questions in a quick and easy way (by phone or e-mail).
The counseling services are provided in a results-oriented and efficient manner. This is made possible by the comprehensive expertise and the dedication of the employees. Guidance and useful tips are just as integral to the advisory service as the providing of assistance in strongly emotional situations.

What couples considering IVF treatment want to know

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“Understanding the miracle of nature”

What contributes to the success of fertility treatment

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Many couples wish for nothing more than to have their own child. But for some of them, their wish to conceive a child has remained unfulfilled, despite prolonged efforts to achieve a pregnancy. But, regardless of how different the underlying causes may be, today there are promising therapeutic options in reproductive medicine.

Counseling: Why is it important?

Since fertility treatment can be an emotionally challenging situation involving potential risks, with no guarantee that the outcome will actually be successful, the couple should, as a first step, seek detailed advice.
One possibility could be to participate in one of the information evenings as offered by the IVF Centers Prof. Zech, for instance. The evening’s topics range from the description of the fundamentals of human reproduction to the analysis of the causes of unwanted childlessness to the possibilities opened up by modern reproductive medicine. The participants have the opportunity to get in touch with medical specialists, ask any questions they may have and voice their personal concerns.
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Unwanted Childlessness and Stress

What do we know about the links existing between them?

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Illnesses, environmental pollutants, ageing are, inter alia, factors which may impair fertility. Unwanted childlessness is often due to a combination of several causes. To date, we know far too little, for example, about the role played by psychological strain. Couples wishing to conceive are usually under great pressure and are often exposed to high stress.
A number of questions arise at this point:

If this stress is caused by the unfulfilled desire to have children, then what about couples who have not been diagnosed with fertility disorders?

Is it possible that in both cases stress can reduce the chances to conceive a child? Read more…

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“If the stork needs a little help”

Sequence of IVF treatment using donor eggs

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There are many reasons why women cannot achieve a pregnancy with their own oocytes. In addition to medical reasons (e.g. cancer treatment, genetic diseases, premature menopause etc.), today, there is an increasing number of cases where socio-economic causes are at the root of the problem. Women often delay having children beyond the age of 35. From age 40, it is getting more and more difficult to achieve a pregnancy.
In situations of this kind, egg donation could be an opportunity for the infertile couple to overcome unwanted childlessness. The relevant legislative framework conditions vary from one State to another.

But how does an appropriate treatment actually look like? Read more…

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“About Experts, Nutrition and Expectant Parents”

What we should know about our diet

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Nutrition also plays in the fulfillment of a wish for a child an important role and is a key factor in maintaining good health (for more information, see our BLOG post “You are what you eat”).
In a recent interview with the American nutrition expert, David L. Katz (Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine) published in the ZEITmagazin, the subject has been discussed at length.
How we can grow old in good health can be summarized under a few headings:

Anyone who has a poor diet, does not take physical exercise, is overweight and is a smoker lowers their chances of leading a long and active life.

This might be compared to the chances of conceiving a baby, since unhealthy lifestyle patterns may impair fertility both in women and men. An example: When it comes to sperm quality, oxidative stress is mainly responsible for damages to the sperm cells (25-60 % of DNA damage).
Smoking, infections or alcohol consumption have a triggering effect on this kind of stress. The formation of oxidative stress can be counteracted by a healthy lifestyle, physical fitness and the right diet, thus improving fertility. Read more…