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When infertility is a problem for you, modern science and medicine have some answers. However, research is ongoing, and there are many new or revised techniques out there as well as some old standbys, such as in-vitro fertilization. Check out some of these technologies below. If you’re having problems with fertility, one of these might be just what you need.
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Doctors are experimenting with uterine and penile transplants around the world, following the success of uterine transplant in Switzerland. In each case, physicians surgically transfer a healthy uterus or penis to the body of a patient. Four women in the Swiss experiment have carried pregnancies to term. Uterine transplants might also be used in transgender cases. Johns Hopkins researchers have approval for the first penile transplant in the US and are looking for a donor. These procedures might help restore fertility after an injury, but their ultimate effects and success rates are unknown as the procedures are too new.
Egg and Embryo Treatments
Genetic diseases often affect the embryo; a new treatment in development is to use genetic material from two women and one man to eliminate defective genes. Parts of two eggs are combined with the man’s sperm outside the body. The fertilized eggs are allowed to develop for several days and then inserted into the mother’s uterus using in-vitro fertilization (or IVF treatment). In-vitro maturation is another new technique used to help eggs mature before fertilization. Researchers have discovered that gently “squishing” eggs to check their resilience may help predict how well they will survive after IVF implantation. Both of these treatments are still experimental and there is not enough information about success rates.
When the problem is male infertility, the current treatments focus on concentrating sperm with a centrifuge or physically removing healthy sperm from the testes and using in-vitro fertilization to create an embryo. Scientists in China are working on a new technique to create healthy sperm from other kinds of cells in the body. The sperm cells don’t have tails and cannot swim, so they must be inserted into an egg cell. So far the experiments have been successful in mice, but have not been trialed in humans.
Embryo Screening and Selection
Fertility enhancement techniques often require multiple eggs for the best chances of success. New techniques to help choose the best embryos include imaging technology that allows researchers to see the movement of the embryonic cells under a special microscope. A second line of research is pre-screening embryos for genetic problems. This form of genetic examination and testing allows doctors to select an embryo that has the greatest chance of healthy genetic material. Much more research is required for both of these techniques to determine their effect on successful pregnancy.
IVF is one of the oldest and most successful infertility treatments. Eggs are fertilized outside the body with healthy sperm and then implanted into the uterus, where the pregnancy develops in the usual manner. IVF has some new twists, however. Single-embryo transfer (rather than multiple embryo transfer which has been the standard method) helps reduce the possibility of multiple pregnancies. Single embryo transfer decreases the risk of complications for both mother and baby. The use of frozen embryos allows doctors to implant an embryo when the mother’s body is ready due to natural hormonal fluctuations rather than relying on the use of medications to manipulate the menstrual cycle.
These exciting new developments for infertility hold great promise. Some are real and clearly successful in many cases (such as IVF), while some (like uterine transplants) have shown some positive results even though much more work is needed. Contact a fertility specialist to see if these treatments are right for you. Besides going through the technological aspect, you get to seek expert’s views over fertility. Advanced Fertility Center is the right place to assist in all such matters.