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In Vitro Maturation
The retrieval of immature eggs followed by the maturation of those eggs in the laboratory has become an increasingly popular assisted reproductive technology around the world. In Vitro Maturation involves removal a woman’s eggs from her ovaries prior to ovulation at a time when they are not ‘mature’ - that is, not ready to be fertilized by sperm. Once removed, the eggs are cultured in the laboratory for a 24 hour period to prepare them for fertilization by injection of a single sperm into each egg (intracytoplasmic sperm injection - ICSI). The resulting embryos are used for transfer to the uterus in a fresh state or frozen for future attempts at pregnancy.
The benefits of IVM over conventional IVF/ICSI treatment are: 1) reduced cost per cycle (no drugs or very low doses of drugs are administered), 2) simplified treatment (less clinic visits/bloodwork, etc) and 3) reduced health risk (no or very low dose fertility drugs). This treatment modality is especially beneficial to woman who have had serious side effects from the administration of fertility drugs and to patients with polycystic ovaries.
As of 2004, it was estimated that approximately 300 healthy babies had been born worldwide and that number continues to rise. The reported pregnancy rates from clinics offering this treatment option are between 20-30%.
If this is an option you would like to consider, please discuss with your IVF physician.
GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer)
A treatment where the eggs are retrieved laparoscopically and 3 or 4 eggs are transferred back into the fallopian tubes with the sperm at the same time.
A procedure used to preserve (by freezing) and store embryos for thawing and implantation at a later time.
Natural IVF (Drug-free IVF)
An in vitro fertilization procedure without the use of any drugs.
Ovum Donation (Known and Anonymous)
A procedure which involves the removal of eggs from one woman for use by another female unable to produce her own eggs.
As you may be aware, the Federal government passed Bill C-6 on April 27th, 2004. On May 5th 2004, the government issued further instruction advising that effective immediately, all ova donation programs in Canada that involve payment to ova donors or sharing of ova in exchange for services was and is prohibited. As a result of this legislation, IVF Canada is left with no option other than to put our donor program on hold. The legislation does allow for altruistic donation (no exchange of money or services) and it also permits compensation to donors for “reasonable expenses”; however, there have been no specifics provided as to what is considered “reasonable” and legal advice on the interpretation of the law is required. We are collaborating with other IVF centres across the country with the intent of retaining legal experts in an attempt to clarify and/or challenge these new regulations.
A woman who carries a pregnancy produced by an embryo that is not genetically related to her and then returns the child to its genetic parents at birth.
Hepatitis B and C Positive Patients
IVF Canada has a separate laboratory and storage facility to accommodate Hepatitis B and C carriers.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
When considering treatment for the purposes of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), it is not possible for us to identify the exact costs until we know which disease is being diagnosed.
PGD technique which utilizes in vitro fertilization (IVF with ICSI) to produce a number of normally fertilized embryos for genetic screening; the embryos are then biospsied to determine which are free of the genetic disease of concern. If they are available, only unaffected embryos are transferred.
Recently, IVF Canada has entered into an arrangement with the McGill Reproductive Centre (MRC) in Montreal to provide the necessary PGD diagnostic services. By using this service, patients are able to have their eggs recovered and biopsied at IVF Canada and the genetic material for diagnosis sent immediately to MRC in Montreal. By using this service, patients can have PGD without having to travel to another city.
IVF Canada is now accepting referrals for PGD. Anyone needing this service will need to have had a complete genetic diagnosis and counselling before proceeding with treatment. After your consultation with our physician, we will be in a better position to more clearly identify the fees that will apply.
Diode Laser for Assisted Hatching
Only a small percentage of human embryos transferred into the uterus after in vitro fertilization complete their initial stages of implantation. This low implantation rate has been attributed to several factors, such as hatching failure of an otherwise healthy blastocyst.
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Assisted hatching (AH) involves microdissection of the zona pellucida (shell), prior to embryo transfer, in order to facilitate the hatching of the embryo from its protective envelope and thereby improve the odds of uterine implantation. A new tool that was developed for microdissecting the zona pellucida, the diode laser, is now available at IVF Canada to thin or fully open the zona pellucida (ZP).
Further research is needed to provide absolute proof that AH significantly increases the chance of pregnancy. Many multi-centre studies are currently running and tend to show that AH is beneficial for selected patients.
The mechanical methods previously used required great technical expertise, acid solution and were not as safe to perform as drilling the ZP using a laser system. Lasers represent ideal tools for microprocedures due to the fact that they allow reproducible generation of holes of controlled size, induce no deletrous mechanical, thermal or mutagenic side effects. Safe, simple and rapid is a good description of the new diode laser for assisted hatching.
Epididymal Sperm Aspiration/Testicular Biopsies
A procedure whereby sperm are aspirated microsurgically directly from the epididymis in the testes or by biopsy of the testes from which sperm are recovered.
ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer)
A procedure where fertilized eggs are transferred into the fallopian tube.
TET (Tubal Embryo Transfer)
A procedure where embryos are transferred into the fallopian tubes.
A procedure where embryos are cultured to day 5 or 6 (rather than the standard day 2 or 3) to allow further cell division and natural selection before transfer to the uterus or womb.
(ICSI) Help for Men with Fertility Problems
Until 1994, male infertility was one of assisted reproduction’s greatest challenges. IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) now provides an effective solution for severe male infertility patients who have previously been unresponsive to other treatments.
ICSI offers an opportunity for men with low sperm counts or poor motility (movement of sperm) to father children where previously there was little or no hope.
In cases where sperm is absent due to blockage or vasectomy, specially- trained urologists at IVF Canada’s facility are achieving great success in obtaining sperm using epididymal aspiration or testicular biopsy techniques.
ICSI involves injecting a single sperm directly into the egg to achieve fertilization.