Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Egg Donation Part 2 - Egg Retrieval Procedure

Once you have been pre-screened and qualified to be an egg donor for in vitro fertilization the egg donation center that you are working with will teach you how to self-administer the medications used during the process. Be forewarned that you will be injecting yourself with these medications. Two types of medication often used for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation include Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Lupron. FSH stimulates the production of eggs while Lupron prevents the ovaries from releasing the eggs before the retrieval process takes place. Some possible side effects of these drugs include fatigue, moodiness, headache, ovarian cysts, and in some rare cases hyper stimulation syndrome of the ovaries. An indication of hyper stimulation syndrome is enlarged painful ovaries and would be detectable on an ultrasound.

Timing is everything when it comes to the administration of these medications. Lupron is typically begun 5-6 days before the start of your period. When your period starts you will need to have a baseline vaginal ultrasound prior to starting the FSH. This will help to detect the presence of any cysts on the ovaries. Ovarian cysts are not uncommon and usually resolve on their own but large or complex cysts may require treatment. If the ultrasound is clear you will begin taking the FSH approximately 2-3 days after the start of your period. Your blood will be drawn at regularly to monitor the level of estradiol, the hormone secreted by developing eggs, in your system. Another vaginal ultrasound will be performed to determine the size and number of eggs in your ovaries when your estradiol level is at the appropriate level. A single injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotropins (hCG) will be administered when the eggs are ready for retrieval. HCG is a naturally occurring hormone that helps with the last stage of development of the eggs. About 36 hours after the hCG injection the eggs are ready for removal.

Since you will be sedated when your eggs are removed you will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the day before the procedure. When you arrive for the procedure you will change into a gown and an IV will be started for the administration of medications and fluids. Then you will be given medication to ensure you are adequately sedated and comfortable during the egg removal. Once you are sedated, a thin needle is inserted through the vagina into the ovaries and the eggs are aspirated into the syringe.

After the procedure you may experience some pelvic discomfort, small amounts of vaginal bleeding or blood in your urine. These side effects usually clear within a day or two. You will be able to return home a few hours after you wake up. You will need to have someone drive you home since you will still be feeling the effects of the medication used to sedate you. You will be given a prescription for pain management as well as an antibiotic to decrease your chances of infection. After the eggs are removed your part is done. The eggs will then be used for the infertility treatment called in vitro fertilization.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain in vitro fertilization in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Egg Donation Part 1 – Qualifications for Donors

Many women are unable to have genetic children because of fertility problems related to egg production. As result of cancer, congenital absence of eggs, or early onset menopause these women no longer produce eggs that can successfully be fertilized. These women are usually candidates for an infertility treatment called in vitro fertilization with a third party egg donor. If you have considered becoming an egg donor but are unsure of the requirements to qualify as one here’s what you need to know.

In order to qualify to be an egg donor you need to be a female between the ages of 21 and 36 and who has given birth before. You need to be healthy and devoid of genetic disorders. Stable mental health is also a qualifier as a history of depression is contraindicated with some of the medications used in the process. Lactation can reduce the effects of the fertility drugs used which might result in lower egg production. If you are considering becoming a donor you will need to stop breastfeeding a few months before egg donation will be possible. If you have met these pre qualifiers here is what you can do next.

Contact an egg donation center and set up an assessment appointment. At this appointment they will obtain your medical history, give you a physical examination, and conduct a psychosocial evaluation. They will be trying to determine the health of the eggs to be donated, as well as the psychological impact on you, the donor, of giving up your eggs. They will also draw blood to test for infections. During your physical exam they will obtain cervical cultures to rule out sexually transmitted diseases. If your blood tests and cultures are negative for any infectious agents or STD’s they will check for normal levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in your blood. FSH in women stimulates the production of eggs. The normal level for FSH in a menstruating woman is between 5mlU/mL – 20mlU/mL. Having a normal level of FSH in your blood stream is required to be an egg donor. If you’ve met all of these qualifications the egg donation center will invite you to an informative counselling session about the ethical, legal, and financial side of donating your eggs. Some egg donation centers offer financial compensation for the donation of your eggs. At the end of this session, if you are still ready and willing to donate your eggs you will move on to the next phase in the process of egg donation.

Make a list of any questions or concerns you might have and don’t be afraid to ask. If you qualify as a donor then be sure to educate yourself about the procedure of egg removal and what your involvement will be in the process. Donating your eggs can bring about the hopes and dreams of yourself and others.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain in vitro fertilization in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Test Tube Babies

When most people hear the phrase “test tube baby” they may conjure up an image of an X-files episode where special agents Dana Sculley and Fox Mulder discover a secret underground laboratory filled with row upon row of genetically engineered fetuses growing in large cylindrical tubes. The common misconception is that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a purely scientific procedure with little with the biological parents. This infertility treatment is ideal for couples who have been unsuccessful with other methods of assisted reproductive treatments.
The phrase “test tube baby” is an informal term which refers to a baby conceived in a tube-shaped glass commonly found in biology labs. In vitro fertilization usually takes place in a shallower container called a petri dish. The term “In vitro” refers to a biological procedure that is performed outside the living organism where it would normally occur. In this case, the ova and sperm are removed from their normal hosts and placed in a fluid medium to allow the sperm to fertilize the egg. The fertilized egg, or embryo, is then transferred back to the woman’s uterus. Since in vitro fertilization is a more expensive infertility treatment, it is usually recommended only when less expensive options have failed.
IVF requires a healthy egg and viable sperm, as well as a uterus that can maintain a pregnancy. A woman’s age is a major factor in the success rate of IVF. Pregnancy achieved through IVF for woman under the age of 35 is approximately 43% in the U.S. Success rates begin to drop significantly over the age of 35 and women over 40 attain pregnancy only 4% of the time. There are a vast number of factors involved, some of which are not fully understood, and reasons for failure are many. Embryos may not develop properly, or may not implant once inserted into the uterus. Experienced physicians have higher success rates. It is best if the woman’s own eggs are used. Often multiple embryos are transferred to the uterus to increase the likelihood of pregnancy; however, this practice creates a higher risk of multiple pregnancy.
While the actual conception takes place in a “test tube”, IVF is a complex and involved process for couples trying to conceive. Extensive testing and screening is done to ensure the best success for clients considering IVF as an infertility treatment. Although it can be extremely challenging physically and emotionally, giving birth to a “miracle” child is just the beginning of a life of unforgettable experiences.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain in vitro fertilization test in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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Male Infertility and Testicular Sperm Extraction

Male factor infertility is accounted for in approximately 50% of couples attempting to conceive. This is attributed to a wide range of factors including stress, excessive use of recreational drugs, hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, hypospadias, obstruction of the vas defens, oligospermia, and infections. Azoospermia and necrospermia are among the more serious forms of male infertility and generally require infertility treatment in order to achieve a pregnancy.

Men with azoospermia have no sperm in their ejaculate. This is further categorized into obstructive azoospermia, where there is a blockage in the pathway from the testes to the point of ejaculation, and non-obstructive, where there is a problem producing the sperm in the testes. Necrospermia is where the sperm in the ejaculate is dead or lacks motility. These conditions are congenital and cannot be cured. Immotile cilia syndrome is a congenital disorder in which the sperm are actually alive but cannot move. Live sperm that is arrested in development may not be able to be released from the testes, and in these situations advances in infertility treatment, such as testicular sperm extraction, can provide an infertility solution.

The hormones FSH and LH are responsible for sperm production in men, which begins in the testes. Sperm cells go through several phases in the testes and eventually become mature spermatozoa. Spermatozoa leave the testes and travel into the epididymis. It is here where they develop motility and become fully mature sperm capable of fertilizing an egg. It was once thought that no motile sperm could be found in the testes. This has proven true for cases where there is no obstruction in the pathway. When a blockage is present healthy motile spermatozoa have been found in the efferent ducts or the caput epididymis.

Retrieving the sperm is a relatively simple and painless procedure that can be done on an outpatient basis. The skin is stretched out tightly and a small “butterfly” needle is inserted into the testes. Movement of the needle draws out testicular tubules. The needle is withdrawn slowly taking a strand of testicular tissue with it. The tissue is grasped with forceps and gently pulled from the testes. Placed in a culture medium the sample can be examined under a stereozoom microscope for presence of suitable sperm.

The physician will be looking for healthy motile sperm with proper morphology, or shape. Samples don’t often possess enough sperm for intrauterine insemination (IUI), but can work well with intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection(ICSI). ICSI is a microscopic procedure that requires in vitro fertilization, involving the placement of individual sperm cells into individual eggs using a glass needle. The fertilized egg or preimpantation embryo is then transfered into the uterus. The fertilized egg is then inserted into the uterus. While the process is not without risk, ICSI has become accepted as a relatively safe medical procedure.

About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Reproductive Medicine, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to write information about the infertility solution. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com

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