fertility treatment BLOG - IVF Zentren Prof. Zech
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Ovarian Stimulation

Part 2 of the topic-series »Fertility treatment process«

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They are closely associated with human growth and are essential for the metabolism. Human reproduction processes are mainly controlled by them. Hormones: messenger substances, thus playing a crucial role at the beginning of each IVF treatment. Hence, following the initial consultation, the woman provides a decisive boost by undergoing hormone therapy (ovarian stimulation).

About the background:

What is the nature of ovarian stimulation?

Since in the “natural” menstrual cycle of a woman several oocytes start to ripen, on average about 10 follicles (containing the maturing oocytes) compete for dominance each month. Only ONE follicle becomes the so-called dominant follicle containing the mature oocyte. The other follicles stop developing. This is exactly where hormonal stimulation comes into play:
The woman needs to take appropriate hormone medication (e.g.: gonadotropins = pituitary hormones) in order to induce as many of these follicles – that would otherwise loose the battle for dominance – to grow further and produce a mature oocyte. This requires a targeted and exactly timed approach. Read more…

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Initial Consultation

Part 1 of the topic-series »Fertility treatment process«

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How do I arrange an appointment for an initial consultation?
What will be discussed there?
How should I prepare for it?
What happens next?

… Questions which bother many of the couples when starting fertility treatment. The team of the IVF Centers Prof. Zech is always there for you right from the day of the first contact and will be pleased to answer all your open questions and give you detailed advice in order to provide for an easy access to the treatment.

On the way from the first contact to the birth of the long-awaited child, the initial consultation is supposed to be the first important step. Read more…

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The moment of the first conversation

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How many times have we discussed this matter? Countless nights were spent browsing the internet to learn about the experiences of other couples facing involuntary childlessness. But now it is time to take charge of one’s own luck and to realize one’s life’s dream. The decision is made: Tomorrow I am going to call the IVF Centers Prof. Zech in order to arrange an appointment.

Holding our breath, our fingers are slowly running over the telephone keys. While dialing the number and listening to the dialing tone, our thoughts wander off in all directions: the last pregnancy test that came back negative, the many sleepless nights, a sudden burst into tears, the failed attempts, the hormone injections and how confident we were about a positive outcome. And then there’s the savings, all the sacrifices we had to make, the decision to forego holidays and travelling, overtime hours in the office…My thoughts are somersaulting in my mind and I have a queasy feeling in the stomach when a friendly voice answers the phone.

Read more…

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Blastocyst Culture

How treatment methods may help to make the dream of having a child come true

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Blastocyst

Involuntary childlessness today is no longer an inevitable fate, thanks to a wide range of treatment methods. This variety includes different approaches in terms of their efficiency which, from the perspective of the respective physicians, biologists and experts, undoubtedly also play a role here. However, from a scientific point of view, it is important to take a very critical look at them. This also applies to one of the most essential points with respect to IVF treatment, namely assessing the development potential of growing embryos.

Due to our competence that is based on over three decades of experience in successfully performing assisted reproductive techniques, we are able to identify efficient methods and, more than anything, to safely use these methods. Since 1996, we have established at our IVF Center in Bregenz an IVF technique known as blastocyst culture (extended culture up to the 5th day of embryonic development) as the method of choice in order to improve pregnancy rates (first systematic blastocyst culture worldwide). Read more…

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For years in the “Champions League of IVF”

Setting benchmarks in fertility treatment…

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…Prof. Herbert Zech in a detailed interview in our Fertility-Treatment-BLOG:

Professor Zech, already 29 years ago you have been on everyone’s lips in Vorarlberg, South Tyrol, Switzerland and Southern Germany after having achieved the first pregnancies following IVF treatment. What has happened since then?

Prof. Herbert Zech

Prof. Dr Herbert Zech

It is true that since I have started my medical work, we have been successfully performing fertility treatment first at the University of Innsbruck (1981-1983), and then, since the end of 1984 in Bregenz. The key factor in this success was, above all, our tremendous commitment and hard work. At that time there was no possibility to monitor and trigger ovulation by drug treatment in order to allow egg retrieval to be performed at a specific moment.
We therefore needed to rely on the “natural” onset of ovulation, which in turn meant that we had to work almost round-the-clock. To this end, we also performed egg retrieval during night time, for instance after midnight or in the morning around five so as to create optimal conditions to achieve a pregnancy.
And this is how we achieved the birth of the first “test-tube-babies” in Austria – 1983 in Tyrol and 1985 in Vorarlberg. At that time, this was a real sensation, and of course there was considerable press interest in the issue.

Read more…

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“Using science to overcome infertility”

How to correctly assess embryonic development

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“After my wife’s oocytes had been fertilized by my sperm and some of the impregnated ova have developed into embryos, we now want to know which embryo is the one most suitable for being transferred to the uterus and what our chances are to achieve a pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child.“

What matters most to these intended parents – and what they share in common with many others – is that they want to know more about the development of their embryos. Embryo formation is probably one of the most important steps in the course of an IVF treatment. In order to evaluate the developmental potential of embryos prior to performing embryo transfer, the professional knowledge of experienced biologists is needed. Such assessment can be supported by using an assistive tool – the so-called “Time-Lapse Analysis”, which allows for monitoring embryonic development by means of time-lapse imaging using a special camera system (e.g. EmbryoScope). Subsequently, the embryo with the highest implantation potential (Single-Embryo-Transfer) is to be determined on the basis of pre-established criteria. This approach, of course, raises some questions:

Could it happen that embryos whose early development has to be regarded as suboptimal are nevertheless able to result in pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby?

Moreover, can it be justified that instead of transferring these embryos, the focus is put on the success of a subsequent future IVF cycle – an attempt with an uncertain outcome?

To answer these questions, a study was carried out. The results have been published in the renowned scientific journal RBM Online. The study shows how important it is to do research in this field of reproductive medicine. Read more…

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“You are what you eat”

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Due to modern reproductive medicine which is aimed at identifying in detail the reasons for involuntary childlessness, the so-called “paternal effect” increasingly becomes the focus of research attention.
This also holds true for the IVF Centers Prof. Zech, where the focus is placed on the medical evaluation of clinical findings of both partners in a couple as well as on a treatment tailored to their individual needs so as to provide them with the best chances to conceive a healthy child – if possible as early as the first treatment cycle.

From today’s perspective, we can assume that men can significantly contribute to a successful pregnancy outcome by a healthy diet, in which the optimal balance of vitamins, in particular with regard to folic acid is of the uttermost importance. Read more…

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“Social Freezing”

Emancipated family planning or a lifestyle trend?

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“I am frightened – to be more precise – it is almost like a feeling of panic, when I think about the ticking of my biological clock!”

“I am going to have ovarian surgery, and I am concerned about the impact this may have on my fertility.”

Our experience has shown that these scenarios reflect the worries of many women. Most of them are under enormous pressure when it comes to family planning. More and more physicians have to deal with their patients’ desire to take precautionary measures. Modern reproductive medicine offers the option of female fertility preservation, which is often referred to as “Social Freezing”.

But what does this mean in practical terms? Read more…

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On the trail of Lindbergh

This is about pioneers, innovations and heart’s desires

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It was Charles Lindbergh’s ambitious goal to be the first pilot to fly an aircraft non-stop across the Atlantic. This made him a pioneer in the history of aviation. Being a pioneer in the field of reproductive medicine, Prof. Herbert Zech has always been concerned with helping couples all over the world to overcome unwanted childlessness.

30 years ago, he founded the IVF Centers Prof. Zech in Bregenz, thus setting global standards. He managed for instance to fulfill the heartfelt desire of the first couples undergoing fertility treatment in Russia (former USSR) and Hungary. Read more…

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Egg retrieval – Narcosis performed by experienced anesthetists

Part 4 of the topic-series »Fertility treatment process«

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In order to provide couples undergoing IVF treatment with optimum treatment conditions, the specialists at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech in Bregenz are supported by a team of anesthetists – the Bodensee ANÄSTHESIE GbR. The medical specialists Michael Brandt, Erich Goldscheider and Andreas Franz are working on an outpatient basis, using the latest anesthesia techniques in various clinics and medical practices in the Lake Constance region. Apart from working with the highest quality standards, their main focus is always on people.

This will be of paramount importance, in particular shortly before oocyte retrieval (follicular puncture), a time which, for many patients, can be extremely nerve-racking and disturbing. In order to relieve the strain on the couple, at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech there is always a joint discussion with the patient, the treating doctor and the anesthetist about the details of the intervention under short-term anesthesia (sedoanalgesia). Read more…