In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the most common assisted reproductive technology used today. It offers couples who are infertile the chance to have a biological child. Advanced treatments are tailored to the particular needs of each patient to increase their chances for success.

The advanced reproductive technologies performed at Fletcher Allen include:

Assisted Hatching (AH)

This involves making an opening in an embryo's outer shell.  This opening allows the embryo to more easily "hatch" and thus implant into the woman's uterus. 

Compassionate Gestational Carriage

An embryo from the biologic parents is carried by another woman because the biologic mother has no uterus or the risk of pregnancy is too great for her.

Egg Donation

As women age, the ovary’s ability to produce good quality eggs begins to diminish.  Using donated eggs allows these women the chance to become pregnant and carry a baby. 

Embryo Freezing (Cryopreservation)

In many IVF cases, there are more good-quality embryos available for transfer than can be safely transferred.  Embryo cryopreservation allows for storage of these embryos, should the "fresh" cycle fail or as an attempt to have another child if the fresh cycle is successful.

ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection)

With some cases of infertility, the problem may lie in the quality or numbers of sperm (male-factor infertility).  Either there are too few sperm to fertilize the eggs or there is poor sperm-egg interaction.  Using ICSI, a single sperm can be injected directly into the egg.

IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination)

One of the first lines of treatment for infertile couples.  On the day a woman ovulates, the man will collect a semen sample and bring it to the lab.  The specimen is "washed" and using a thin plastic catheter, a doctor places the specimen into the woman's uterus.

MESA (Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration)

In some cases of severe male-factor infertility, a surgeon, using a small needle, can withdraw sperm from the epididymis (a coiled structure attached to the back of the testes) IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection must be performed with sperm from MESA in order to fertilize the eggs. 

Testicular Biopsy

With some cases of severe male-factor infertility, it is not possible to retrieve sperm from the epididymis with MESA.  In those cases, a surgeon can remove a small piece of the testicle and the embryologists in the IVF laboratory can extract sperm from that piece of testicle.  IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection is also required with sperm from a testicular biopsy in order to fertilize the eggs.

Therapeutic Donor Insemination (TDI)

Similar to IUI but donor sperm is used.  TDI is often used for women who do not have a male partner.