As in any field in the medical industry, research is constantly being conducted to develop the latest breakthroughs in reproductive medicine research and treatment. Infertility is a problem affecting individuals and couples around the world, and the treatment of this condition helps many of these people reach their goals. Much of the research over the last several decades has focused on the development of procedures that combine sperm and eggs to create embryos and improve existing methods such as in vitro fertilization. The analysis of embryos before they are transferred to the uterus for implantation has produced some promising results.
The chances of success with in vitro fertilization are lower than some expect, and consequently many wonder if there is anything that can be done to improve those results. Much of the chances of success depends on the individuals involved-their age, health, cause of infertility, etc.-but certain procedures have been developed to help improve the odds of success. Many now utilize embryo evaluation procedures that check for chromosome issues before transferring embryos to the uterus. This is often called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and it helps to make sure that only healthy embryos are transferred.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure that improves the chances of creating an embryo in cases of male infertility. It won’t help to improve the chances of success once conception has occurred and an embryo has been created, but it can help to improve the chances of creating the embryo in the first place. Sperm is injected directly into the egg with this procedure.
A recent trend-perhaps not a reproductive medicine breakthrough, but important nonetheless-is the use of fewer embryos in IVF procedures. This decreases the chances of multiple pregnancies. When using embryo grading methods, only the healthiest embryos are transferred, so many have still found success when transferring only one or two embryos.
Researchers and doctors have found that seeking treatment earlier can improve the chances of success. Continuing to try to get pregnant without seeing a doctor may work if there is no real underlying cause of infertility, but for those with certain conditions or medical problems that are causing their infertility, treatment is usually necessary. So if you’ve been trying unsuccessfully for a year to get pregnant-or for the last six months if you’re over the age of 35-it is best to speak with a fertility specialist to discuss possible causes of your infertility.