Pacific Fertility Center Physician Talks to EveryDay Health about New Infertility Treatment for Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

Posted on October 8, 2013 by Inception Fertility

A new technique called in vitro activation (IVA) may for the first time offer hope to certain infertile women, Pacific Fertility Center’s Carl M. Herbert, MD, recently told EveryDay Health, a provider of online health information. Dr. Herbert was commenting on a study published September 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Developed in collaboration with Stanford University researchers, the technique was tested by physicians at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan on 27 women with primary ovarian insufficiency—a condition of early menopause with amenorrhea and high FSH blood levels in women under 40 years of age. “A woman with this condition has few remaining follicles,” said Dr. Herbert, “and this new procedure is attempting to rescue the few that remain. In the past, these women have had to rely on egg donation to bear a baby because their bodies aren’t responsive to medications for ovarian stimulation.”

To perform IVA, the researchers collected ovaries or parts of ovaries from the women, stimulated them to encourage immature eggs to grow, and re-implanted portions of the ovaries near the women’s fallopian tubes. Thirteen of the patients had ovaries containing residual follicles—the structure where immature eggs develop—even though the women had stopped menstruating an average of 6.8 years earlier. After giving hormones to prompt ovulation, the researchers were able to collect mature eggs from five of the 13 women, resulting in one live birth so far.

This “reawakening” of ovaries was actually due to a combination of two techniques: mechanically fragmenting the ovary and using drugs to block the activity of a protein that puts the brakes on follicle growth. Although the study needs to be repeated and many hurdles still remain, this early success is promising, Dr. Herbert told EveryDay Health.

About Pacific Fertility Center
Pacific Fertility Center is an international destination for male and female fertility treatment and care. It provides an extensive array of fertility treatment options ranging from intrauterine insemination (IUI), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) to cutting-edge technology such as vitrification and genetic testing of embryos. For more information:

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Renee H. Scudder, MS

Pacific Fertility Center
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San Francisco, CA 94133


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