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How Does a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) Work?

There are times when a couple is not ready to have another child yet there are concerns about the embryos that have been accumulated during an IVF cycle. What will happen to these embryos if they are not transferred to the woman when the cycle comes to an end? The good news is that they can be cryopreserved, and then safely stored until the woman is ready to conceive again.

When the woman makes this decision the frozen embryo can be thawed, and then the transfer to her uterus can be made when she is at the right point in her menstrual cycle. This particular procedure is called Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET).

The same steps have to be taken as that for standard embryo transfer. Which means the woman has to go through the regular blood tests and have the ultrasounds done to confirm the best time in her cycle to make the transfer. The fertility specialist may also deem that it is necessary for the woman to go on a prescribed dose of hormone medication, but this is not always necessary.

Natural FET

 

Women who are going to undergo natural FET may not have to take any form of hormone supplements, or if they do it will be minimal.

Programmed FET

 

This is usually referred to as medicated FET. What it means is that hormone medication will be prescribed that will help with the preparation of the lining of uterus, so it will more readily accept the embryo that has been thawed and is ready for transplantation.

The Transfer Procedure

 

Once the Los Angeles fertility specialist feels comfortable the lining of the uterus is at its fullest receptiveness the transplant is ready to be performed. The embryo is not thawed out by the lab staff until the day of the transfer. The actual procedure is usually quick and simple, and does not require a hospital stay or any type of sedation.

Transfer Procedure Follow Up

IVF

Following the procedure the woman will return to her fertility specialist to have a pregnancy test done. If the test proves positive the patient now goes under the care of an obstetrician. Around the 7th week of the pregnancy this specialist should be able to detect a fetal heartbeat.

The success rate for the FET procedure is quite high. It gives women comfort in knowing that their embryos can be safely taken care of through the freezing procedure until they are ready to be used. Plus, the woman who is having this procedure done doesn’t have to go through the entire IVF cycle.

With the advancement in technology today there are advanced vitrification methods being used to freeze the embryos, which is far better than the methods used in the 1980s which were slow freezing techniques.

There is of course a cost involved to have the embryos frozen which can range around $800. Then there is the added cost for the implantation of the thawed embryo which can amount to around $4,000. Although, this will vary from one clinic to another.

Pacific Reproductive Center offers all types of assisted reproductive procedures at four Los Angeles metro locations with expert specialists. Call us today for treatment in Glendale, Torrance, Irvine or Corona!

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Which Infertility Treatment Would Be Your Best Option?

With the modern technology of today and the ongoing advancements in the treatment of infertility, there are many options to be considered for fertility treatments. Not only do these treatments bring hope for couples who want to conceive, but they offer choices. Infertile couples can make informed decisions as to what they feel would be the best treatment to participate in.

IVF

In Vitro Fertilization is one of the most well-known infertility treatments and is considered to be highly successful. It has been estimated that over 3 million babies throughout the world have been born as a result of IVF. The IVF procedure also offers some additional options within it, which gives the infertile couple some more options.

Oral Medication

Depending on what is determined to be the cause of your infertility there may be medication that can be prescribed to help with you become fertile. For women whose ovaries will not release the eggs a medication called Clomiphene may help. It has been indicated that about half of the women who are prescribed this medication will within about three cycles become pregnant. However, it is not usual for the pregnancy to consist of twins or even more babies. This is because the medication stimulates the ovaries to release more than one egg during each cycle.

Hormone Injections

For those women where Clomiphene has not been successful the fertility specialist may order injectable hormones. There are various drugs that can be used for this. Women who are able to ovulate often find they achieve success with this form of treatment. There is more of a chance of becoming pregnant with twins or more with this form of fertility treatment.

IUI

This is intrauterine insemination. It is a procedure that is sometimes used in conjunction with drugs that are being used to encourage ovulation. In this procedure the sperm is placed directly into the uterus during ovulation but is not injected directly into the egg. It is less expensive and not as complicated as IVF, but it is also not quite as successful.

ICSI

This is a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This is a beneficial procedure when infertility is a problem for the male who has very low or weak sperm. The egg of the woman has been extracted and once it has become fertilized the sperm will be injected with the sperm while in the lab. The woman will then go through the IVF procedure.

These are just some of the more common forms of infertility treatments. There are several others besides these, and some of the treatments are used in conjunction with each other. It can be difficult to make a choice, but listening to the advice of experts like your Los Angeles fertility Doctor will help you make the right decision. Knowing the cause of your infertility greatly helps in finding the right solution. With so many different fertility treatments being available today, it greatly increase the chances of a couple being able to go full term with the pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.

Call Pacific Reproductive Center today for the top fertility treatment at four locations in the Los Angeles metro area!

How does an EmbryoScope Help with Fertility?

Any couple that is dealing with infertility soon gets introduced to a whole realm of new terminology when they are seeking out solutions. One term that they may come across is EmbryoScope.

What is an EmbryoScope?

 

This is a device that has the ability to maintain the physiological conditions that an embryo needs when they are being housed in an IVF laboratory. It is an incubator that possesses a time lapse system and a camera. As the embryo develops this system and camera is able to capture the images and then record them in video form.

This is a highly important piece of equipment that the embryologist can count on for monitoring the embryo.  While the embryo is in the incubator cell divisions can be monitored and studies of the embryo’s development can be tracked.

What is the Value of The Embryoscope findings?

 

Some of the recent findings are that certain events that take place along with cell time points might help with being able to predict the potential for embryo development and the potential for pregnancy. With the information the Embryoscope is able to provide it can help with this.

By making use of these time points it can allow for the selection of the best of the embryos from the collection, plus determine how viable those embryos will be. The cell division pattern that can be captured with this device can be considered as a valuable resource for choosing the embryo that could be the best for implanting in the patient’s uterus through IVF.

It takes a time lapse camera to be able to capture these time points. In the past this has not been possible with the use of a microscope because time points between embryos may not be the same.

This new technology is showing a great deal of promise with some of the studies backing this up. It is indicated that there may be a 15 to 20% increase in the chance of a pregnancy developing.

Standard Embryos Selection

 

Without the use of the Embryoscope, the standard selection of the embryo for IVF or ICSI is used.  The embryos are housed in a highly controlled environment that mimics what a woman’s body would be like. They are kept in heated incubators.

These embryos are contained in small lab dishes which are periodically removed from the incubator so they can be checked for development which should be occurring at specific times.  They are placed under a microscope for this observation.  The findings of this examination will help to determine which of the embryos are most likely to succeed in a successful pregnancy. These observations must be done quickly so the embryos can be returned to the heated incubators.

All indications are that the Embryoscope has the technology to allow for better choosing of which embryo would be the better choice for transplantation. This greatly helps to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy for those going through IVF.  An added and very important benefit of the Embryoscope may be in its use for helping to predict if an embryo is chromosomally abnormal.

This is just another one of the many advancements that is being made to help couples experience the joy of a full term pregnancy and the birth of a healthy infant.

Pacific Reproductive Center offers top fertility treatments at 4 locations in the greater Los Angeles area. Call us today!

Why Can’t I Get Pregnant? The Emotional Impact of Unexplained Infertility

If you have just received the news that you and your partner are suffering from unexplained infertility, the shock may be so great that you might feel as if you have just been punched. Or you could be numb – trying to take it all in. You’ve been trying for so long and going to see a specialist was the light at the end of the tunnel.  They would find out what was wrong and fix it for you. At last you’d both allowed yourselves a glimmer of hope that you were getting nearer to your dream of starting a family.

Many people have heard of couples with a problem with “her” or a problem with “him”. Her eggs aren’t right, his sperm aren’t right…and so it goes on. But you don’t often hear people say “They don’t know what is wrong”.

For a specialist to admit to you that they don’t know what is stopping your from having a baby is absolutely devastating. If they don’t know – what on earth are you supposed to do now? Couples have reported feeling as if they’re on a sinking ship and the last lifeboat has just left without them.

There have been so many medical advances – how can they not know? It defies belief.

Anxiety levels go up

Because no one can give you a reason, you become more anxious than you were before. There are moments when you wish you’d been told that you just couldn’t have a child because then you could grieve and move forward with your lives. This frustrating, disappointing, crushing blow leaves you in a no man’s land where you just don’t know what to do next. You don’t even have any power in the situation and so you may start to feel helpless.

It’s little wonder that anxiety and depression are the most common emotions experienced by people who have Fertility Center Corona CAjust been given the diagnosis of unexplained infertility. Those two emotions bring a great risk of developing depression – which is all you need right now.

Your anxiety increases because no one can identify the cause. Even if the result of those interminable, painful, intrusive tests had been that you or your partner could not have a biological child, at least then you could grieve and move on.

You may crave support, warmth and understanding from your family and friends but they may appear to not know what to say to help. Why should they? You don’t know what to do either. Instead of a safe haven of understanding you may feel awkward and stressed around them as if you have to apologise for upsetting them.

Now comes the part that may help to get your back on your feet again. A study found that three years afer unsuccessful attempts at IVF, couples with unexplained infertility were suffering from unresolved grief. They had just pushed it down and hoped it would go away.

Not surprisingly, the study recommended that couples should get counseling to help with their feelings. There are counselors who specialize in helping infertile couples and you can bet that they have come across how you are feeling and will be able to pull that last lifeboat back and sit you safely in it.

Can Stress Lead to Infertility?

One of the worst things that you can say to a person dealing with infertility is “Just relax and it will happen.” [1] There is some truth in this as research is finding that stress may impact negatively on the production of both sperm and eggs [2] The truth is that stress impacts on all of your body so that is not surprising news. The truth is that stress is caused by infertility. And you can’t begin to imagine how much stress. fertility doctorThis is so difficult for your friend so try not to use clichéd phrases that can be very hurtful. Trying to tell someone to relax when they are probably the most stressed out that they have ever been is not only tactless – it’s going to cause more stress. Not helpful.

It’s a medical fact that if a couple conceive after months of ‘relaxing’ they are not truly infertile. In order for a couple to be classed as infertile, they have to have been trying for a baby for a year – with no success. Many infertility Physicians won’t even see a couple until they have had that year of trying. And that has to be pretty stressful.

Infertile women are particularly at risk from well meaning but ultimately thoughtless and unhelpful people telling them to ‘Have a romantic meal and a bottle of wine’ or ‘Take a relaxing holiday somewhere.’ It is highly likely that the woman already feels she must be doing something wrong which is a huge burden to carry and it’s not even true. It is much more likely that she has an undiagnosed (or diagnosed) physical issue that is stopping her from conceiving a baby.

These comments are particularly upsetting if they come from someone that the infertile couple don’t know very well. For all you know, they may have endured surgery, hormone treatments, inseminations and the indignity and embarrassment of being prodded an probed by numerous Doctors.

Infertility is not a state of mind. It is a medical condition which is diagnosed and treated as much as possible. You need to bear in mind that even with treatment, some couples may never realise their dream of building a family. Relaxing, holidays and a positive attitude do not cure medically diagnosed infertility so please, please don’t suggest it.

If you genuinely want to help (and we’re sure you do) it’s an interesting exercise to visit a forum for infertile people and it won’t take you long to find threads of comments about insensitive things that have been said to them. Try FertileThoughts.com, TheBump.com, ivillage.com

We do understand how difficult it is when you are only trying to help, so here are some things not to say, courtesy of The National Infertility Association RESOLVE Some of them will make you wince but these are all the sort of comments that infertile couples face. We have added our thoughts in brackets to some of them. Their number one offender is…you guessed it…

  • “Just relax…”Fertility Center Corona CA
  • “Just enjoy being able to sleep late…travel…etc.,”
  • “There are worse things that could happen” (Oh, that’s all right then. Seriously?)
  • ‘Maybe God doesn’t intend for you to be a mother.’ (Oooh, that’s an awful one!)
  • “Why aren’t you trying IVF?”
  • “Why don’t you just adopt?”
  • “You’re young – you have plenty of time to get pregnant.”
  • “I’ll donate the sperm” (ouch…can we say crude?)

References

1 http://www.resolve.org/support/for-family–friends/infertility-etiquette.html

2 https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1128/

Sperm and Embryo Freezing & Storage

Freezing Sperm & Storage

Scientists and researchers have started freeing sperm for decades. Sperm samples are frozen and stored until needed. The frozen process is tolerated well. There are many reasons why sperm are stored frozen. Some are stored frozen for convenience (for example, the male partner will be travelling on the day his female partner is due for insemination). For some men, surgeries can be performed to harvest sperm and the sperm is frozen and stored in several batches to prevent the need of going through the surgery again in the future. For some men, their sperm numbers are low and their sperm is hence stored cumulatively to allow the couple to go through in vitro fertilization (artificial insemination). Sperm freezing may also be recommended for those who are anxious about producing sperm sample on the day of insemination.

Once sperm is thawed, it is normal for some of the sperm to die. Since most sperm samples have millions of live sperm, there is no consequence to losing a fraction of them due to thawing. Individuals who opt for sperm freezing includes: cancer patients, pre-vasectomy patients, military personnel, police officers, firefighters, high impact athletes, transgender clients and advancing paternal age.

Human embryo freezing and storing

The first human embryo was successfully frozen in 1984. Embryo freezing is routine after in vitro fertilization and approximately 60% end up with embryos in storage. Freezing of excess good quality embryo allows for the transfer of less embryos and avoiding higher-order pregnancies such as twins or triplets which may compromise the mother’s health. This also provides patients with a back-up if the first embryo does not result in pregnancy. Embryos can be frozen at any stage of the development. They tolerate freeing extremely well. Pregnancy rates with frozen embryos are comparable to fresh embryos that are transferred without ever being frozen.

What is embryo storage

PREIMPLANTATION GENETIC TESTING                  Embryo storage is preservation of the embryo in the cold for future use. To collect eggs, women are given fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs.  Patients who use embryo storage are patients who are undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intra cytoplasmic injection (ICSI). These are methods of fertility treatment procedures to help couples who are diagnosed with infertility. Other patients who opt for embryo storage include women who are concerned with their future fertility, cancer patients, military personnel, police officers, firefighters, high impact athletes, transgender clients and more. It is more cost effective to go through egg collection only once and have the unused embryos stored instead of collecting eggs before every treatment.

How are embryos thawed?

The embryos that are taken out of the freezer are warmed to room temperature in 3 seconds. The rapid thaw method minimizes the damage to the embryos. After the thawing process is performed at room temperature, the embryo is warmed up to body temperature (37 Celsius) and can be ready for transfer 40 minutes after leaving the freezer.

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Early Pregnancy Obesity Linked to Fetal and Infant Death

In a 2005 Los Angeles study, researchers found that one out of five adults is obese. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 70% (two-thirds) of Americans are overweight and 37% (roughly one-third) are considered obese. What’s more shocking is that 6% have extreme obesity.

 

With early pregnancy obesity, the woman is at risk for fetal and infant death and maternal pregestational diabetes. This 2011 study was the first to examine the continuous relationship between body mass index (BMI) and fetal/infant deaths. The investigators have linked data on single birth pregnancies from 3 regional registers in the United States.

 

Miscarriage or spontaneous fetal death is any loss of pregnancy at 20 weeks gestation or more. Infant death is any loss of a child from birth up to one year. Underweight is considered a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2, obese as a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more, and recommended BMI as 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. The crude and adjusted odds ratios of spontaneous fetal death and infant death among obese, overweight, and underweight women were determined using the logistic regression model. The study found that risks for fetal and infant death were greatly increased for obese women.

 

In reference to the categories, no significant excess risks were seen for those underweight or overweight. For the obese women, no specific cause of death was found to explain the increased odds of fetal or infant death, except for slight higher rates for preeclampsia among stillbirths. Experts are unsure why obesity is associated with fetal and infant death, but not exactly sure why. It is noted that there is a risk for increased blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy, but how obesity is related to miscarriage is not yet known.

 

Most women will deliver a healthy baby, regardless of weight. However, women who are struggling with fertility should consider weight loss before conception. Current research shows that this gives the baby the best possible start in life. Women should attempt to lose weight during the pregnancy, but should also ensure that they eat a balanced, healthy diet and avoid excess high-fat, high-calorie foods.

 

fertility doctorA team of researchers based in the US and Sweden decided to test the theory that maternal weight was related to infant mortality. They analyzed over 1.8 million birth records from 1992 to 2010. The causes of death among these infants included birth asphyxia, congenital anomalies, infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The results were adjusted for maternal height, age, smoking, country of birth, education, and year of delivery.

 

A total of 5,428 infant deaths were noted during the study, which was 2.9 per 1,000 infants born. Of these deaths, two-thirds occurred during the neonatal period (first 28 days of life). As noted in the study, the infant mortality rates went up with increasing maternal BMI in early pregnancy, with 6 deaths per 1,000 women with obesity. When compared to infants of normal weight mothers and those only mildly obese, whereas mothers with obesity grade 2 or 3 had more than doubled risks of infant mortality.

 

In the study, the association between infant mortality and maternal weight was confined to the first 37 weeks gestation in the neonatal period (within 28 days of birth). Infant mortality is associated with obesity grade 2-3 in preterm births. Also, 81% of infant deaths in term infants were due to birth asphyxia, congenital anomalies, SIDS, infections, and other neonatal morbidities.

How Acupuncture Helps Fertility in Los Angeles

                  Acupuncture is a treatment that is used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is an ancient treatment method that relies on painless and strategic placement of tiny needles onto the body. It is used to stimulate specific points that is believed to help regulate physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance. In simpler terms, it regulates the way the body functions. There are Acupuncture4over 2,000 points in the body, connected by 14 major pathways, called meridians. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that these points are energy points and if disrupted, can cause pain and disease. Acupuncture is used to keep the flow unblocked, thereby increasing the chances of conceiving.

                  It has been reported that when used in combination with modern medicine, it increased conception rates by 26%. Acupuncture can increase fertility rates by addressing underlying problems that may affect fertility. This includes thyroid problems (hypothyroid – low functioning or hyperthyroid – over functioning). It can also help by reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive system and balancing hormones. By increasing blood flow to the reproductive system (ovaries and uterus), it is believed that it helps create a better chance for the ova (egg) to be nourished and carried to term. This treatment method not only aims to help conceive, but also maintain the pregnancy and having a healthy baby.

                  Although acupuncture has been proven to help fertility, there are some causes of infertility that cannot be treated with acupuncture. This includes tubal adhesions that blocks the tube and can be due to pelvic inflammatory disease. Structural defects such as a blocked fallopian tube due to a fibroid (a benign tumor) is also another condition that cannot be treated by acupuncture. However, individuals with these conditions may still benefit from acupuncture as it improves ovarian and follicular function.

                  Studies have also found that acupuncture helps to stimulate egg production in women who opt to not use fertility medication to help them conceive. It is also reported to be comparable to modern medication that helps with egg producing acupuncturesuch as Clomid. Although comparable to Clomid, acupuncture cannot be sued to substitute fertility drugs used in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) as it generally stimulates the growth and release of one egg while fertility drugs in IVF is used to produce multiple eggs.

                  Acupuncture treatments are recommended as two sessions, 30 minutes per session every week. Treatment can take several months before the effects can be seen.  Compared to fertility drugs that have side effects such as abdominal tenderness, bloating, water retention, weight gain and nausea, acupuncture infertility treatment was found to have no side effects but having the same function fertility drugs do.

                  There are some minor risks in using acupuncture for fertility treatment. If incorrect acupuncture points are used during pregnancy, it may increase the risk of a miscarriage. Patients should choose to be treated only by an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders. It is generally safe regardless of the patient’s past medical history.

Pacific Reproductive Center offers top fertility treatment at four locations in Southern California including Torrance, Glendale, Corona and Irvine CA. For the top Los Angeles fertility treatment, call us today!

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Top 5 Natural Ways to Boost Your Fertility

infertility

If you have been trying to have a baby, here are the top 10 ways to boost your fertility naturally.

WEIGHT CONTROL

Being underweight or overweight can interfere with conception. A body mass index or BMI of 25-39 (overweight or obese) and a BMI less than 19 (underweight) can significantly increase conception time as compared to those with normal weight.

STAY OFF CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL

Drinking too much coffee or too much alcohol can interfere with a woman’s fertility. Drinking more than five cups of coffee a day has been associated with lower fertility.

NO SMOKING

Like alcohol, smoking can impair both man and woman’s fertility. Smoking can even increase the risk of miscarriage if you are pregnant.

FERTILITY ACUPUNCTURE

Leading fertility clinics, such as Pacific Reproductive Center in Los Angeles, offer acupuncture for fertility. Acupuncture can help increase pregnancy rates for couples with thyroid problems, repeated pregnancy losses, spasmed tubes and stress.

KEEP TRACK OF OVULATION

If you wish to be pregnant, you should have intercourse within the three days before ovulation.The six-days that end on the day of ovulation are considered the most fertile period. You can keep track of ovulation by the calendar method or an ovulation predictor kit, available at your local pharmacy.

If you are looking for a reputed fertility clinic in Los Angeles, Pacific Reproductive Center at 866-423-2645. Pacific Reproductive Center has been successfully aiding conception for over two decades. PRC maintains fully licensed, state-of-the-art surgical centers with in-house labs and employs physicians, embryologists, and geneticists with advanced degrees.

Answers To Common IVF Questions

in vitro fertilization

The process of conception begins with the menstrual cycle, release of an egg (ovulation), fertilization of the egg in the tube by sperm to create an embryo, and then implantation of the embryo into the uterus. But if you are undergoing IVF or In Vitro Fertilization, you may need to know a little more about the reproduction process.

How can I improve my chances of IVF success?

To improve your chances of success in In Vitro Fertilization, the following may be recommended-

  • Vitamins: Coenzyme Q 10, vitamin D and some others specific to each patient
  • Stress Relief: Fertility acupuncture and psychological counseling may be advised
  • Weight control
  • Avoid smoking and restrict caffeine content

Does the egg retrieval hurt?

Only a few women find egg retrieval painful. You may find it uncomfortable but not as bad as they are feared.

What day is the embryo transferred?

The day of egg retrieval is called day 0 (zero). The eggs are fertilized the same day and by the next morning (day 1) you know if fertilization has occurred properly. Transfer can be done on day 3 or day 5, as your doctor recommends.

Should I freeze my embryos?

There is increasing evidence that for many women, it might be better to transfer embryos after they have been frozen. It may be because your body is restored to a more natural state than it is during the IVF cycle.

Is there a high chance of having twins?

If one embryo is transferred into the uterus, the chance is only 2%-5% but if more than one embryo is transferred into the uterus, the likelihood of twins is 30% to 50%.

If you are looking for an experienced fertility doctor, call the leading IVF clinic in Glendale and Los Angeles at 866-423-2645.