San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) February 05, 2013
Well-known for success in treating the most challenging fertility cases, the physicians and embryologists of the Pacific Fertility Center (PFC) have received international recognition for extensive clinical experience, outstanding academic credentials, and participation in major research studies.
A pioneer in the field of assisted reproductive technology (ART), the Pacific Fertility Center remains in the vanguard of infertility treatment, fertility research and clinical practice as reflected by five recent developments.
Fertility Preservation Program. Until recently, young women facing fertility-damaging cancer treatment were the main beneficiaries of fertility preservation. This technique safeguards vital and abundant eggs for future use. PFC has introduced a new, comprehensive program to include other young women seeking reproductive flexibility—the ability to reduce their risk of age-related declining fertility by retrieving and storing their current eggs.
Fertility Preservation starts by stimulating the ovaries with fertility medications to produce multiple egg sacs (follicles). Then eggs are retrieved under ultrasound guidance and “frozen,” using an advanced form of cryopreservation (vitrification). The eggs are available for conception later when the natural store of eggs has declined. Published success rates of fresh and frozen eggs are similar. Although the program is too young to know its effectiveness in women over age 40, PFC does have proven successful births with embryos derived from “frozen” eggs.
PFC’s Fertility Preservation Program enables women to manage their fertility, allowing patients to take advantage of their healthy, young eggs and plan for pregnancy based on their personal needs and wishes.
Frozen Egg Bank. PFC launched a Frozen Egg Bank on August 1, 2012, making it the first freestanding egg bank in Northern California. Coming on the heels of the opening was an auspicious announcement from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), which lifted the "experimental" label from egg freezing.
Now, PFC is offering frozen egg cycles to patients, having gained tremendous expertise in the field. PFC has one of the largest egg donor programs in the nation and has used vitrification technology for egg "freezing" since 2007. Clinic results and worldwide studies have confirmed that live births using frozen donor eggs are comparable to those using fresh donor eggs. And, birth defects are not increased with the use of frozen eggs.
Comprehensive Chromosome Screening. Recent advances in molecular genetics and embryology allowed PFC to begin employing an exciting new tool in the fall of 2011.
With highly sensitive CCS techniques, it is now possible to test all 23 pairs of chromosomes in an embryo, reliably and safely learning the exact number of chromosomes. CCS helps ensure the transfer of the highest quality embryo(s), with high implantation rates and low risk.
CCS has overcome challenges of earlier pre-implantation genetic testing techniques. With those, certain abnormalities could be missed, removal of cells for testing could inadvertently harm the embryo, and sampling of single cells at an early stage was not necessarily representative of the whole embryo.
Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) improves implantation rates, reduces multiple pregnancy and miscarriage rates, and reduces the risk of Downs’ Syndrome and other whole chromosomal illnesses. Implantation rates are double older IVF technologies, and miscarriage rates are significantly lower than expected in women of similar ages.
Time-Lapse Photographic Embryo Evaluation. PFC and more than 50 of its patients successfully participated recently in two multi-center research studies. These assessed a groundbreaking noninvasive technology by Auxogyn, Inc. called Early Embryo Viability Assessment (Eeva™). The goal of these studies was to evaluate embryos to see if their development at certain points could predict embryo quality.
Auxogyn selected PFC along with four other centers for testing its Eeva system. Combined with a computer software program, Eeva takes photos of embryos every five minutes, assembling them together into a time-lapse video. This allows embryologists to closely monitor timelines of cell division.
The study results showed Eeva could accurately predict which embryos are most viable with a high level of reliability. This will help guide embryologists in choosing the highest-quality embryo(s) for IVF transfer. It may improve success rates and reduce the need to transfer multiple embryos.
Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSet). With the early success of CCS and Eeva, PFC can now also confidently offer more patients an effective but safer transfer technique called elective single embryo transfer (eSET). This technique lower the risks linked with multiple pregnancies while successfully maintaining excellent pregnancy rates.
The technique involves selecting the highest-quality embryo for transfer to the uterus from an available pool of embryos set aside for future use or cryopreservation.
PFC's overall implantation rate for eSET is comparable to published studies, around 74 percent, which has encouraged more women to give it a try. Between 2009 and 2012, the eSET rate at PFC went from 33 to 71 percent of patients. At the same time, the percentage of twins fell from 22 to 16 percent.