San Francisco, CA – May 19, 2015 – Unprecedented high pregnancy rates combined with low pregnancy risks. That’s the promise of elective single embryo transfer (eSET), when combined with comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS) and other technologies. Today, with their new program, Pacific Fertility Center (PFC) is delivering on that promise, achieving pregnancy rates ranging from 50–75 percent per transfer and multiple gestation rates of just 2 percent—much lower than the 20–30 percent typical of traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF).
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The Infertility Blog
At the recent 2015 Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS) meeting, three papers received the PCRS Allied Health Professional Award, which recognizes outstanding presentation in specialties such as reproductive endocrinology, urology, gynecology, nursing, and genetics.
PFC’s Sergio Vaccari received one of these awards for his paper on timing of blastocyst hatching after vitrification. Another abstract focused on the potential relationship between intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and aneuploidy,1 an abnormal number of chromosomes. In most cases, aneuploid embryos do not implant or they result in early miscarriage. Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) is a rare example of aneuploidy that can result in a live birth.
What is ICSI?
Introduced in 1992, ICSI is an IVF procedure where a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. ICSI is used for:
In the last issue of the Fertility Flash Newsletter, we reported on a number of studies linking higher body weight to the decreased success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). These were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The conversation continued at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS) in March with the presentation of more papers on the topic.
A common culprit? Obesity is linked with lower implantation rates in IVF cycles—whether or not donor oocytes are used. Researchers have therefore suggested that endometrial dysfunction is at least partly to blame. Exactly how obesity changes the uterine lining, though, has remained a bit of a molecular mystery.
Every few years, a new technological development comes along in our field—one creating such an impact, that it eventually becomes nearly ubiquitous. The last time this happened was in 1993 when intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) allowed men with severe male factor to become biological fathers.
In 2015, the breakthrough of the decade is clearly the ability to diagnose embryos for the presence or absence of all 23 pairs of chromosomes, what we call comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS). This year’s Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS) meeting was dominated by this topic, and appropriately so. There is no doubt in my mind that this has been the most important innovation in in vitro fertilization (IVF) since the advent of ICSI.
Each year, a team of physicians and staff from Pacific Fertility Center attend the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS) annual meeting in Palm Springs, CA. PCRS is a professional meeting and provides an educational forum for reproductive specialists, embryologists, nurses, scientists, and many others who work in infertility field.
One of the highlights of this year’s meeting was a talk by Alice Domar, Ph.D., who is the director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston. She also directs the Mind/Body Services Program at Boston IVF. She is a senior staff psychologist at Beth Israel Medical Center and an associate professor in Ob/Gyn at Harvard Medical School. I have known Alice for a number of years and once again she gave a thought-provoking lecture at the conference.