The orbit of reproduction is no exception.
In the current age, the zone of Medicine has made a gamut of technological advances and has always been moving forward. Each passing year for the benefit of mankind, huge sums of finances are spent on the purpose of scientific research and development in the medical field.
The orbit of reproduction is no exception. Thanks to novel radical technologies, skilled medical experts have now learned the right ways and methods to select reproductive cells, by choosing only the superior quality cells, thereby escalating the prospects of achieving a positive pregnancy.
The modern technological know-how that is being offered today, enables parents to conveniently postpone the process of childbirth, in case the circumstances require them to do so. Contemporary methods of cryoconservation (vitrification) enable a delay of parenthood owing to social or medical reasons.
Additionally, to-be parents can now be assured about the health of their child, especially in case if one member of the family has been suffering from a genetic ailment. Modern-day technology plays a major role in helping parents to get all chromosomes checked and also aids them in detecting deviations at the stage of the embryo.
Some latest technologies that could benefit the modern-day IVF chains.
PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) – this is the latest technique used at Cocoon for improving IVF success rates. PRP is used for patients with recurrent implantation failures and IVF failures because of the thin endometrium. The endometrium or the lining of the womb needs to thicken appropriately and needs to have good blood flow for implantation of the embryo. When this does not happen the chances of the embryo sticking to the womb are low.
In the PRP procedure, we extract high concentrations of platelets from the blood sample of an individual. PRP helps to naturally heal tissues and improves the quality and thickness of the endometrium.
PICSI (Physiological Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) – is suggested when there is a history of repeated miscarriages, low fertilization rate after ICSI, embryo quality and sperm DNA issues. This is a test conducted in the IVF lab and helps sperm selection.
Not all sperm through normal while examination will be DNA competent or have the physiologic (inherent) capacity to fertilize an egg. PICSI allows selection of healthy, physiologically normal sperm for ICSI. This sperm is less likely to have chromosomal abnormalities and more likely to give a good embryo.
Oocyte Vitrification or Egg Freezing – vitrification is a new technology which has proven to be the ground-breaking science of egg freezing. Those who want to start their family late can freeze their egg. Women at risk of early menopause can store their eggs so that they can retain the possibility of bearing their own genetic children later on.
In vitrification, we fast freeze eggs in liquid nitrogen to -196°C within seconds. These eggs can be thawed years later and used for IVF. This means a younger egg can be used which is as good as using a fresh egg for an IVF cycle.
IVM (in vitro maturation) – this procedure is used to help women with conditions like a polycystic ovarian disease, to have children. Women with PCOS may often give immature eggs during an IVF cycle due to the inherent hormonal imbalance. IVM is a special technique used in the lab where the immature eggs are worked upon to attain maturity outside the body. This helps develop the eggs to a level where they can be fertilized with the sperm. Mature eggs are more likely to form an embryo as opposed to immature eggs. This technique has truly revolutionized fertility care in the lab.
PGS –PGS is actually aneuploidy screening and it involves checking the chromosomes of embryos conceived by IVF or ICSI for common abnormalities. A major cause of the failure of embryos to implant and of miscarriages to occur is Chromosomal abnormalities. PGS is recommended in women over 35 yrs of age and having a higher risk of having a baby with a chromosome problem (such as Down’s syndrome), in patients with a family history of chromosome problems, history of recurrent miscarriages, multiple implantation failures in IVF
The procedure involves creating embryos with IVF treatment. On day 3 or day 5/6 of embryo development, a trained embryologist removes one or two of the cells (blastomeres) from the embryo; this is the step of embryo biopsy. This biopsied cell is sent to a genetic lab where chromosomal analysis is performed. A report is obtained back in a few weeks and says which embryos were affected and which were not. The affected embryos are discarded and the unaffected ones are transferred to the patient.
PGD enables people with an inheritable condition in their family to avoid passing it on to their children. The process involves checking the genes and/or chromosomes of embryos created through IVF. PGD can test for virtually any genetic condition where a specific gene is known to cause that disease. It is currently over 250 genetic conditions can be tested for e.gthalasemia, cyctic fibrosis, breast cancers, myotonic dystrophy etc.
The procedure for PGD is the same as for PGS up to the stage of embryo biopsy. The biopsied cell is then screened for the presence or absence of the disease-causing gene in an external lab. The report is obtained in a few weeks as in PGS and says if embryos carry the gene or not. Disease-carrying embryos are discarded and normal embryos are transferred.
This article is contributed by Dr. Rajalaxmi Walavalkar, Senior Gynaecologist and IVF specialist at Cocoon Fertility.