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Tag-Archive for » IVF «

November 16th, 2010 | Author:

An embryologist is a scientist that works with sperm, eggs, and embryos. This field of work is known as embryology. Embryologists can work in human or animal embryology. Animal embryologist can help with breeding programs for a zoo, repopulation of endangered species, and breeding of livestock. Human embryologists work with infertility programs with the goal of helping couples have a baby.

The embryologist in an in vitro fertilisation program (IVF) plays a vital role in the journey to pregnancy for a couple struggling with infertility. During the course of infertility treatments, the embryologist will be involved from the start to finish of an in vitro fertilization – IVF cycle. During the testing phase before IVF treatments, the embryologists will prepare the embryology lab for infertility treatments by regulating and testing environmental conditions in the embryology laboratory including temperature, air quality, and humidity. Ordering supplies and the culture media, or liquids used to grow the embryos, is also a necessary step when preparing to start an IVF cycle.

Testing of sperm and freeing sperm samples from couples about to undergo treatment is another job of the embryologist during the testing phase Often, an embryologist will also work in the role of an andrologist, which is an individual that works with sperm.

In the IVF program at California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc., our embryologist Deborah Johnson conducts an educational seminar before patients undergo the egg collection procedure, or oocyte retrieval. This “egg class” is designed to introduce infertility patients to embryology and terminology used in an embryology laboratory.

During the egg retrieval procedure, embryologists receive test tubes containing liquid removed from the ovaries. The embryologist will search this fluid under a microscope and identify the eggs. The eggs are collected together and placed into petri dishes for the remainder of the IVF process. The embryologist is also responsible for fertilizing the eggs with sperm by conventional insemination techniques or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

ICSI is a more complicated procedure that involves using microscopic instruments to remove the cumulus cells surrounding the egg, allowing the embryologist to assess egg maturity and egg quality. After the sperm preparation procedure, an individual sperm is injected into each egg. When ICSI is not needed, sperm are placed in the dish with the eggs after the sperm preparation or sperm washing procedure is completed.

The day after the sperm and eggs are combined, the embryologist checks for fertilization by examining each egg under the microscope. Eggs that did not undergo ICSI will need to have the outer cells removed so the embryologist can perform the fertilization check. The fertilized eggs, or zygotes, are placed into an incubator that has been regulated to control gas mixture, temperature, and several other conditions. Optimal conditions in the embryology laboratory will allow the zygote to progress to the cell division stage, at which point the zygote becomes an embryo. The embryologist will check on the embryos and change the culture media as needing during the 3 to 5 days before the embryo transfer procedure.

Embryologists also perform embryo biopsy procedures on embryos at day 3 or day 5. During the embryo biopsy procedure, an embryologist must rely on experience to remove a single cell from an embryo while minimizing the risk of damage to the embryo. The embryologist will work with the laboratory performing the genetic test and coordinate the handling of the cells and test results. The embryologists skill at performing micromanipulation procedures on embryos can play a vital role in the success of IVF.

Using micro-surgical techniques, embryologists may also perform assisted hatching on embryos. During this procedure, microscopic tools are used to thin the outer shell of embryos and make a hole in the zona pellucida to facilitate the hatching process. The embryologist will also assess the quality of the embryos and provide the infertility doctor with a report on embryo quality. This information is used to determine if there are any issues with poor embryo quality that could affect the chances of a pregnancy.

When the best quality embryos are identified, the embryologists will load the embryos into the transfer catheter and work with the doctor to perform the embryo transfer procedure. Any remaining embryos that are not transferred and appear to have the capability of making a pregnancy, are frozen for later use. The embryologist is responsible for the cryopreservation of extra embryos during the IVF process.

Embryologists usually obtain their training in biologic sciences. Many embryologist gain their initial experience in animal laboratories before transferring into human IVF. Over the last few years, embryology training programs for human IVF have been formed. It is likely that there will be more of these programs in the future. Regardless of the training background of an embryologist, hands on experience is one of the most critical factors in an IVF lab.

California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. has some of the most experienced embryologists with over 30 years combined experience. Their experience allows us to easily adapt to developments in embryology that will help our family maximize our patient’s chances of having a baby.

— © California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. Male and female infertility specialists near Sacramento.

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November 06th, 2010 | Author:

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November 06th, 2010 | Author:

Getting pregnant using fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization is stressful for any couple. But for couples in which one or both partners has the potential of having a child with a genetically based disease like Tay Sachs or Gaucher’s disease can be frightening. A new genetic screening under clinical study gives at-risk IVF patients a fuller glimpse of their developing embryos.

Until now, IVF patients have had to choose between testing for chromosome abnormalities like Down Syndrome or single-gene hereditary disorders like Tay Sachs. A new screening from Redwood City, Calif. based Gene Security Network combines single gene hereditary disease testing and a 24-chromosome comparison into one test.

Dr. Ernest Zeringue, founder of California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. says “this test will offer at risk couples an additional tool for increasing their chance of pregnancy while minimizing the risk of having a baby with a genetic disorder.”

While new technology can not completely relieve the worries of getting pregnant, this next step in the genetic testing of embryos will help at risk patients make more informed decisions about their best options for bringing home a healthy baby.

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November 06th, 2010 | Author:

Sacramento Infertility Support GroupCalifornia IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. encourages its patients to seek group support for general infertility issues as well as during advanced reproductive therapy like in vitro fertilization (IVF). The Infertility Support Group of the Sacramento area is one resource for all Northern California women struggling with infertility to turn to so they do not have to struggle with getting pregnant alone. The Infertility Support Group of the Sacramento area is a peer led support group for women that provides a place to discuss the emotional impact of infertility. Women are provided a welcoming space to discuss treatments for infertility like IVF and artificial insemination as well as alternatives like using acupuncture to help with stress and increase ovulation. Recommendations and experiences with Sacramento area infertility doctors and clinics many also be discussed openly and honestly. 

 Women with fertility issues may want to contact the Sacramento Area Infertility Support Group if any of the following statements apply: 

  • I’m feeling lonely and isolated because of my infertility.
  • I have very few people to talk with about my infertility.
  • No one understands how infertility is affecting me.
  • My husband is the only one I have who provides emotional support in dealing with infertility.
  • Infertility is affecting my work and career.
  • I feel that my life plan is out of control because of infertility.
  • I’m having trouble navigating my medical treatment options for infertility.
  • I can’t decide when “enough is enough” of infertility treatments like IVF, IUI and fertility medications like Clomid.
  • Holidays and coping with family and friends is becoming more more difficult the longer I deal with infertility and answer questions about why I am not getting pregnant or having a baby.
  •   

For more information about the Sacramento Area Infertility Support Group, email your questions or comments to Christine at sacramentoinfertilitygroup@gmail.com  

Bimonthly Meetings take place on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month in the Sacramento area.  

Visit http://resolve.org for more information about infertility issues and a list of Northern California Support Groups  

— © California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. – Male and female infertility specialists serving the Sacramento, Roseville and the greater Northern California area including the San Francisco Bay Area.

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