Fertility Preservation of Embryos (FPe)
A couple consulted with me recently about their plans for their family. In their mid-30s, they were committed to each other, and to building a family, but deeply involved in a family startup business. They had decided that family building would have to wait for 5 years until they could provide the time and energy that children would require. We talked about Fertility Preservation of Embryos (FPe) as a way to protect their future option for pregnancy.
FPe is an extraordinarily effective technique at Pacific Fertility Center. Couples that want to build a family sometime in the future, or any woman that is willing to commit to a sperm source, can save healthy embryos and achieve high pregnancy rates 5 or 10 years later. Embryos that are chromosomally normal, preserved today, offer high pregnancy rates for many years into the future.
A chromosomally normal embryo, known as a euploid embryo, transferred into a healthy uterus, will produce a pregnancy 2 out of 3 times, about 65%. 3 healthy embryos each with a 65% implantation rate, offer the potential, on average, of 2 healthy children (3 * 0.65 = 1.95, or about 2). These pregnancies carry a high implantation rate, with low miscarriage risk, and the embryos are pre-screened for chromosome abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.
FP of embryos works like this: Eggs are retrieved from the ovaries with conventional in vitro fertilization techniques. Sperm is added to the eggs in the lab and resulting embryos are incubated for 5-7 days to the blastocyst stage. A few cells are culled from the embryo to count chromosomes. Euploid embryos are cryopreserved.
At a future date, one euploid embryo is warmed from the batch and transferred to the mother. Pregnancy rates are high, and since only one embryo is transferred the risk of multiple gestation is quite low.
This couple went ahead with PGe. They produced 15 eggs, fertilizing 10 to produce embryos. On testing, 3 of the embryos were euploid. Those embryos are now safely stored, and the couple are secure that their goal of building a healthy family is likely to be fulfilled in the future.
- Philip E. Chenette, MD