Friday 27 March 2015

Why do people choose to proceed with PGD?

PGD (Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis) is a genetic test performed on human embryos prior to implantation into the woman’s uterus. IVF treatment first needs to be performed in order to enable PGD testing. With IVF treatment, embryos are created in a laboratory environment by the fertilization of a woman’s eggs with sperm. When the embryos reach 6-8 cell stage (usually 4-5 days after fertilization) a biopsy is taken from the embryo to perform a genetic test called PGD. PGD testing helps to determine if the embryo has any genetic anomalies. 

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes and in a typical PGD test, several pairs of these chromosomes most susceptible to genetic diseases are analyzed. There are many reasons why couples proceed with PGD.

In a typical PGD test the chromosomes, which are linked with Down syndrome and Trisomy are checked. The X, Y chromosomes, which determine the gender of the offspring is also checked for any genetic disease that may be passed on to a specific gender. This also enables the couple to know the gender and if desired to choose the gender of their offspring. This is commonly referred to as sex selection and is only allowed in a few countries like the USA, Cyprus and Thailand. In countries where sex selection is not allowed, the PGD testing is used to analyze gender related physical or mental anomalies. For example hemophiliac and Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy genetic disease is related with the X chromosome which only affects male embryos. 

To whom is PGD performed?

Couples wishing to become parents, but have genetic conditions in their families such as Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia or Huntington’s disease usually choose PGD to make sure their offspring will be free from these diseases.

In addition to couples with genetic disease in their family, PGD is also recommended for older woman looking to become pregnant as the rate of genetic anomalies increase with older age. Women suffering from a history of miscarriages are also advised to go through PGD to increase the likelihood of delivering a health baby. 

With today’s technology, virtually all chromosomes can be analyzed for genetic diseases. However, it is economically unfeasible to analyze each chromosome for every couple going through PGD testing. Therefore, in most cases, several pairs of chromosomes are analyzed that assesses the most common genetic disease. It is advisable to speak to your doctor if PGD is right for you and what type of PGD testing is recommended.

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Tuesday 27 January 2015

Fertility problems? Consider egg donation

Thousands of women struggle with infertility every day. In cases where traditional pregnancy with your own eggs is not possible, egg donation is recommended.
Getting pregnant using donated eggs is becoming more and more popular; in fact, it has become the most trusted medical solution for couples that have been trying to conceive a baby for many years with no result.
The procedure of donating eggs has a higher success rate as compared to IVF treatment. The success rate is approximately 75%, which is the result of high-quality egg selection.
The key participants involved in egg donation therapy include the egg donor that offers the eggs, the egg recipient that receives the best embryos, and the father that provides the sperm.
In many cases, an egg donor may be chosen based on individual characteristics, such as eye, hair, or skin color. In that way, the characteristics of the donor match with the characteristics of the recipient.

The egg donation process consists of four phases.

  1.  In the first phase, ovarian hyperstimulation, donors receive a series of hormonal drugs to produce multiple mature eggs.
  2. During phase two, egg retrieval, mature eggs are removed from the donor through a surgical procedure.
  3. The next step is about fertilizing the donated eggs with the sperm of the future father. 
  4. At the final phase, the resulting embryos are transferred to the receiving woman after a period of five days.

egg donation uk
Egg Donation
To prepare the womb of the recipient to receive the embryos, the future mother is put on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), so the cycles of both the recipient and the egg donor are synchronized.

Throughout the donation procedure, egg donors spend approximately 60 hours in screening, testing, and medical appointments. Women that donate eggs should be between 21 and 30 years old, healthy, and have proven ovarian reserves.

Although egg donation is a wonderful solution for couples wishing to have a child, the legal framework is not so friendly around the world. In a number of European countries, including, Germany and Italy, donating eggs is not legal. That’s why many couples seek help abroad in countries where the procedure is allowed. One of these countries is Cyprus, where couples can find IVF clinics offering high-quality services that result in high pregnancy rates. Moreover, IVF treatment expenses in Cyprus are lower than in the UK. For that reason, many couples from the UK choose to travel abroad to visit an IVF clinic and receive premium quality services for a lower cost.

Interested? Take the next step…

Friday 2 January 2015

What is sperm donation?

Sperm donation is the use of a donor’s sperm to achieve pregnancy otherwise not possible due to male infertility. Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) are utilized to fertilize a womans’ eggs with the fertile donor sperm. The couple going through sperm donation seeks the procedure in an IVF clinic. The treatment procedure is similar to normal in vitro fertility treatment where the couple’s own eggs and sperm would be used. The only difference is that the donor’s sperm is used for the fertilization process. 

There are many reasons for male infertility. Usually a simple spermiogram (semen analysis) test can be performed to assess the fertility of the male partner. During the spermiogram test all the important parameters of male fertility are assessed including the sperm cell count, mobility and morphology. 

Why to proceed with Sperm Donation?

sperm donationFor couples going through the sperm donation procedure, the male partner would not be the biological father of the child. However, in most jurisdictions he becomes the legal father. The sperm donors are usually chosen to reflect the physical features of the male partner. However, if the couple has a specific physical feature or academic history preferences, these could normally be catered for. Sperm donors go through very strict selection criteria and only a very few percentage of candidate donors become actual sperm donors.

As part of the selection criteria for sperm donors, screening for genetic disease, chromosomal anomalies, and screening for sexually transmitted disease are performed. Sperm donors could be known or anonymous. However, due to the privacy considerations, anonymous donation is usually preferred. Most respected in vitro fertilization clinics use highly reputable sperm banks to source their sperm for sperm donation. Sperm banks ensure high standards in quality of sperm, greatly enhancing pregnancy success rates for the couple. 

Sperm donation is a great alternative for couples suffering from infertility due to the male partner and allows for pregnancy otherwise not possible. Despite sperm donation being available in most European countries, several countries have restrictive regulations, which in return motivates couples to travel abroad to countries with liberal sperm donation legislation. Sperm donation has become hugely popular for such couples and instead of going through the adoption route; couples with male infertility can now become parents.

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