The future of fertilization
This week is Infertility Awareness Week and it reminds us of where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.
Advancements in the Infertility Laboratory
Development of intro cytoplasmic sperm injection allows us to treat the most severe forms of male infertility. It opens up the door to being a biological father for many men with an abnormal quality of sperm that cannot be treated with different methods, including young cancer survivors.
Advances in the embryology laboratory have contributed to pregnancies from less than perfect eggs, sperm or embryos, and new technologies are continually evolving that allow for better maturation and observation of developing embryos without compromising quality.
Advances; fresh and frozen!
Many women find themselves in the unfortunate situation of “too little, too late.” Women diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve or premature ovarian failure due to advanced age, genetics or treatment to eradicate diseases such as breast cancer, can now turn to donor eggs to conceive and carry a child.
Gestational surrogacy is also a viable option for some women who cannot carry the pregnancy to term.
Egg freezing is a more recent development that has been honed over the past decade to provide women with an ‘insurance policy’ towards their future fertility.
Same sex couples can benefit from donor eggs, donor sperm or gestational surrogacy, as well, helping preserve a genetic link with one of the parents.
Advances in preimplantation genetic diagnosis
Perhaps one of the most quickly evolving areas has been preimplantation genetic diagnosis, done in conjunction with invitro fertilization.
Through this powerful combination, patients can screen for inherited genetic disease such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and sickle cell anemia and gene markers associated with chronic illnesses including BRCA 1/2 and early onset Alzheimer’s. Future siblings can also be conceived through IVF combined with genetic testing.
Screening embryos for all the chromosomes also allows to select the best embryos for transfer, minimize multiple births, and avoid miscarriages in the first trimester.
With such amazing progress over the past years, we look with anticipation to what the next 25 years may hold.
About the Author
Dr. Elena Trukhacheva, MSCI, is one of the field’s devoted female reproductive endocrinologists, who demonstrates a unique rapport and understanding of her patients. As a woman and a mother, she takes pride in providing comprehensive care and strives to bring hope and support to her patients. Dr. Trukhacheva is Board Certified in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology and in the sub-specialty of reproductive endocrinology and infertility. She is a part of the Reproductive Medicine Institute Chicago: www.teamrmi.com.