A variety of the latest fertility topics addressed by the experts at one of the nation's leading centers

Posted on May 14, 2014 by Inception Fertility

STRESSED OUT WOMEN MAY HAVE A HARDER TIME GETTING PREGNANT-A new study suggests stressed out women are less likely to get pregnant than women with lower stress. Although the relationship between stress and trouble getting pregnant has been hinted at before, it had never been scientifically proven before now. This new research marks the first time that scientists have found a direct link between stress and infertility. Working on stress is something they can try to do on their own to improve their chances of getting pregnant. In a study that followed more than 400 women just as they were starting to try to get pregnant, the researchers found that women with the highest levels of the stress indicator alpha-amylase in their saliva were 29% less likely to get pregnant than women with the lowest levels. They also found that women with the highest levels of alpha-amylase were more than twice as likely to meet the clinical definition of infertility--meaning they did not get pregnant even after a full year of trying. Alpha-amylase is associated with our fight or flight response, but it can still be chronic. If you are chronically stressed, your body will learn to keep that system hyperactive because it has learned you are under attack constantly.

ARE VINCE VAUGHN'S 533 CHILDREN IN THE MOVIE 'DELIVERY MAN’ POSSIBLE? Are 533 kids from a sperm bank by one man something that could actually happen? Considering the probability of pregnancy using frozen sperm- 20 to 30 percent and the probability of successful pregnancy with a live birth at 10 percent: It would take a minimum of 1,250 vials of sperm to ‘make’ 500 children. If a normal ejaculate results in about four vials, this would mean that the man would have had to donate about 300 ejaculates. No sperm bank would allow a donor to donate that many specimens over a several year period of time. Dr. Carl Herbert, president of the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, suggests that, based on his own calculations considering biological recovery time, weekend sperm bank closings and a donor’s likely social and work obligations outside of semen donation, “It would take [Vaughn's character] seven to 10 years to collect the sperm needed for 533 children.”

EGG FREEZING- Women, particularly single women, who delay childbearing due to personal circumstances now have the option of freezing their own eggs so that these may be fertilized and implanted at a later date. This significant step forward in fertility treatment enables women to take advantage of their body’s fertility at a time when eggs are at their healthiest. Women have on average about 600,000 eggs at birth, and this supply diminishes at a rate of about 1,000 per month, right from the day she is born. This decline is part of the natural aging process, and is commonly referred to as a woman’s biological clock.

Previously, a woman not ready for parenthood and wishing to use her own eggs had the option of harvesting her own eggs through IVF and then fertilizing these eggs with partner or, in the case of women that do not have a partner, anonymous donor sperm. The resulting embryos would then be frozen and implanted at the appropriate time.

Pacific Fertility Center has been freezing unfertilized eggs since 2006 when we first embarked on a project freezing donor eggs. Since then, we have performed many cases of egg freezing and the number of patients coming in for oocyte freezing is steadily rising. Pacific Fertility Center froze eggs on about 60 women in 2012, and 180 women in 2013. In 2014, the number will likely be over 200. While once considered an experimental procedure, success with egg freezing has led to widespread acceptance.

PCOS- Whether Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a term that's been in your vocabulary since teen-dom or something you're just figuring out, when you start thinking about building a family, getting symptoms under control becomes hugely important. Some with PCOS may experience all the symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, increased facial or body hair, acne or weight gain, some just a few and some won't even know they have it until they've been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for some time and finally consult a specialist. When you are freshly diagnosed, the list of symptoms can be very illuminating but also overwhelming. The one unfortunate commonality between us is the potential of trying to conceive to be difficult.

While there are a plethora of methods and treatments available to help treat PCOS what's one of the best and simplest ways to keep your PCOS as best under control as possible? Diet. PCOS is in large part about the relationship between your body and food. Dr. Liyun Li, a Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, explains what PCOS has to do with how your body processes food. "Patients with PCOS may also have something called insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. It means that PCOS patients are at increased risk to develop abnormalities with their ability to metabolize and utilize ingested sugar from their diet." Difficulty processing sugar is not always evident on the outside as one might assume. “Often these patients may be overweight or obese," Dr. Li explains "however, even normal weight or lean women with PCOS may have this problem." While it may sound like how well your body handles sugar is only going to affect your waistline - it really does directly affect conceiving .In terms of diet specifics - there are definitely foods someone with PCOS may want to avoid.

"IN VITRO ACTIVATION” (IVA) may help infertile women give birth, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from the St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan developed the technique, which has so far resulted in one birth and another pregnancy. The researchers tested the technique in 27 women diagnosed with primary ovarian insufficiency, a condition affecting 1 percent of women, in which the ovaries don’t produce the estrogen necessary to develop and release eggs for ovulation. However, women with the condition still contain immature eggs in the follicles of their ovaries, and IVA stimulates the production of those immature eggs to help women with the condition conceive. For patients with primary ovarian insufficiency, egg donation is the only option for bearing a baby. These patients are eager to find a way to become pregnant with their own eggs.

The procedure involves removing either a piece of or the entire ovary, stimulating it to encourage the immature eggs to grow, and implanting the ovary back before administering in vitro fertilization drugs to encourage ovulation. “This group of women has a reduced number of follicles, but they still have them,” Carl Herbert, MD, medical director of the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco. “The researchers are trying to rescue those follicles and the eggs they contain. When they do that, some of those eggs may be viable.”

But the viability of the eggs is just one part of the equation, Dr. Herbert said. “The big question is about the quality of those eggs,” he said. “We know that by the time a woman gets to age 44, only 1 in 20 of her eggs is chromosomally normal. It’s important to look at the genetic makeup of these eggs and the potential child. ”The technique could offer hope for the first time to women with this condition, Herbert said. And while the technique was only tested in women with this condition, it’s possible that it could be expanded to treat other reasons for infertility, such as chemotherapy or early menopause, he added.

CCS IS A METHOD OF EMBRYO SELECTION FOR CHOOSING THE BEST EMBRYO OUT OF A GROUP- CCS, or Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening, alone does not increase the number of normal embryos available for selection. CCS is an effective way to select healthy embryos. In summary, CCS is an exciting new technology that permits selection of the healthiest embryos for transfer, improving implantation and pregnancy rates and reducing risk after in vitro fertilization. CCS allows single embryo transfer of healthy embryos after IVF, maximizing the chance of delivering a healthy baby while reducing multiple gestation, miscarriage risk, and clinical aneuploidy (such as Down Syndrome). With CCS, we see live birth rates of 50-70% per embryo transferred. CCS is one more way Pacific Fertility Center is helping our patients grow their families, one healthy baby at a time.


  • State of the Art IVF Lab. The PFC laboratory team with four PhDs far exceeds the standard of training and certification.
  • PFC’s clinical laboratory director, Dr. Joseph Conaghan is internationally recognized for his decades of work in human embryology. He and his team of extensively trained, certified embryologists are devoted to leading this field in research and new technology.
  • How our laboratory maintains its gold standard. All egg retrievals and embryo transfers take place in our private office in San Francisco, and are immediately transported to our on-site laboratory. Our embryo identification procedures are meticulous, requiring two of our eight board certified embryologists to be present at every critical step in the process.
  • Our state of the art lab facility has repeatedly received the coveted "perfect score" certification from the College of American Pathologists-American Society for Reproductive Medicine (CAP-ASRM).
  • Additionally, at Pacific Fertility Center we take the security of the laboratory very seriously. We have developed a multi-step protocol, SurTransferSM (TM), which ensures the safe and secure handling of eggs, sperm and embryos, and prevents even the possibility of a mix-up.
  • Each of our senior embryologists is Board Certified and Licensed in their specialty by the American Board of Bioanalysis. While such certification is not required in the State of California, Pacific Fertility Center insists that every member of our staff is certified to the highest laboratory standards. We are fortunate to possess an internationally recognized Laboratory Director, Dr. Joseph Conaghan, who leads one of the most highly trained embryology teams in the country.

Media Contact

Renee H. Scudder, MS
[email protected]

Pacific Fertility Center
55 Francisco Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94133


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