New Advancements in Technology Provide Higher Fertility Treatment Delivery Rates

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Internationally-renowned scientist at Fertility Centers of Illinois hones vitrification technology, allowing for comparable success rates with frozen embryos and eggs during fertility treatment

Dr. Juergen Liebermann PhD, HCLD

These advances translate directly into higher pregnancy rates, a higher proportion of single embryo transfers offered with a reduction in high-order multiple pregnancies and therefore thousands of dollars saved.

While scientists have been freezing eggs and embryos for 40 years, it was not until recently with the development of a new technology called vitrification that delivery success rates between fresh and frozen eggs and embryos become nearly equal.

Current success rates (delivery of a baby) with in vitro fertilization for women ages younger than 35 are 44.6 percent for fresh embryos and 35.6 percent for frozen embryos.

Vitrification as a fast-freezing technique is a fundamental process that is critical and beneficial in the advancement of fertility treatment. Scientific advancement of cryopreservation techniques with vitrification allows for greater patient success in all facets of fertility treatment in which the freezing of an embryo or egg is required. This includes treatment options for assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as egg freezing for fertility preservation, egg banking, genetic testing and the push to more single embryo transfers to reduce multiple pregnancies as a result in ART.

Dr. Juergen Liebermann PhD, HCLD, internationally-renowned embryologist with Fertility Centers of Illinois, has been largely influential in the advancement of this technique. In 2002 he started extensive research on the fast-freezing technique, and since has contributed to more than 50 publications and spoken to industry professionals around the world regarding vitrification at more than 100 occasions. In 2007, Dr. Liebermann and Dr. Tucker edited and completed a book entitled “Vitrification in Human Assisted Reproduction.” By getting world-recognized scientists in the field of cryobiology as contributors for this book, it presents the state-of-the-art procedure of vitrification.

“Fine tuning various methods and techniques in vitrification has allowed the industry to advance exponentially,” he explains. “These advances translate directly into higher pregnancy rates, a higher proportion of single embryo transfers offered with a reduction in high-order multiple pregnancies and therefore thousands of dollars saved.”

Previous techniques used traditional slow-freezing methods, which resulted in the presence of ice crystals within eggs and embryos. The ability to thaw a slow-frozen egg successfully, fertilize with sperm, and freeze the additional resulting embryos with promising success rates was nearly impossible.

Science has advanced to allow for stronger embryos, with freezing techniques being implemented five days after fertilization, when an embryo consists of 120 cells. Previous techniques froze embryos on day three, when embryos consisted of 6-8 cells.

An additional technique called “artificial collapsing” prior to vitrification steps uses a laser system to drain the fluid from the embryo, allowing success rates to skyrocket. A combination of these techniques allows success rates for frozen embryos and eggs to be virtually the same as a fresh egg or embryo.

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Fertility Centers of Illinois, S.C., is one of the nation's leading fertility treatment practices, providing advanced reproductive endocrinology services in the Chicago area for more than 30 years. FCI physicians, embryologists and support staff are stringently chosen based on educational background, medical skills and their ability to collaborate. With a team of 10 nationally and internationally recognized reproductive physicians who treat thousands of patients each year, the practice has earned a reputation for overcoming hard-to-solve fertility issues. FCI is dedicated to medical and clinical excellence and continues to invest in the latest technologies and research. FCI offers a comprehensive range of fertility treatment options including intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, donor egg, gestational carrier, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, as well as extensive resources to address financial and emotional needs. Fostering a culture for continuous innovation has made FCI home to the annual Midwest Reproductive Symposium which attracts experts in the field of reproductive endocrinology from around the world. FCI has 10 offices conveniently located throughout the Chicago land area (Buffalo Grove, Chicago/River North, Crystal Lake, Glenview, Highland Park, Hoffman Estates, Lindenhurst, Naperville, Oakbrook Terrace, and Orland Park). FCI is a member of the Attain Fertility Network which provides discounted fertility treatment programs. For more information visit http://www.fcionline.com

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