ReproMed

The IVF & Reproductive Medicine Educational Center

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The physicians and professional staff at ReproMed in Toronto are committed to providing cutting edge reproductive technology.

The Basics of Assisted Hatching

Though in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a treatment that has been available to patients for decades, it has undergone substantial changes throughout its use to improve outcomes and address a wider range of patients experiencing infertility. Microsurgical techniques are among the most substantial breakthroughs in IVF therapies, because these surgical methods can manipulate embryos as they develop within a laboratory setting to create higher chances of successful implantation and full-term pregnancies. One of these techniques is known as assisted hatching may be recommended by your physician specializing in assisted reproduction.

What is it?

In a normal pregnancy, a fertilized egg will move through the fallopian tube to the uterus, where it will implant in the womb. To successfully implant, the fertilized egg, or embryo, must burst through its outer shell called the zona pellicuda. Various circumstances can cause the zona pellicuda to become abnormally thick or stretchy, causing greater difficulty in implantation. With assisted hatching, embryos that have been fertilized outside the body will have the zona “ruptured” or “thinned” to increase the success of implantation. This process will occur three days after fertilization and one day prior to implantation.

Getting the Facts Straight

  • Because the assisted hatching procedure takes place in the laboratory setting, it will not cause any additional physical stress for patients.
  • Assisted hatching is done on Day 3 cultured embryos before a fresh transfer but not Day 5 cultured embryos before a fresh transfer. It is always done on frozen embryos (both Day 3 and Day 5) as a result of techniques used in the lab for freezing.
  • This procedure is conducted in a safe manner that does not harm the embryo before being transferred.
  • Contrary to what is reported on the Internet, assisted hatching does not result in an increased risk of monozygotic (identical) twins.

To learn more about assisted hatching and IVF to help with your family planning goals, connect with ReproMed in Toronto. You can reach our reproductive medicine institute online, or call us at (972) 494-5438 to schedule a fertility assessment.

Preparation, Procedure, and Recovery: An In-Depth Look at IUI

Intrauterine insemination, also called IUI, is an assisted reproductive procedure in which washed sperm is injected directly into the uterine cavity. This procedure differs from IVF because fertilization of the egg and development of the embryo will take place entirely within the body rather than in a laboratory setting (in vitro). This less invasive procedure is often the first line treatment employed in an attempt at overcoming ones’ infertility. It is also a procedure used by single and

same-sex female couples working with sperm donors to start a family. In terms of assisted reproductive procedures, IUI is relatively simple, but it does still require several key steps as well as very accurate timing and preparation to facilitate a successful pregnancy.

Preparation

Prior to IUI, female patients may take several fertility medications which help to stimulate the ovaries to mature more than one egg. These medications will allow the physician to accurately time ovulation to determine the ideal window for insemination. Couples may also need to select a sperm donor prior to IUI if a donor specimen will be utilized.

Procedure

Timing is critical in the IUI procedure; sperm must be collected 90 minutes before the insemination takes place in a clinical setting. Sperm is then processed, or washed, before it is placed directly into the uterus through a small catheter. During the procedure, female patients will lie down and a speculum will be inserted into the vagina, similar to the preparation for a pap test. The sperm is then slowly passed through the catheter into the uterus and placed near the fallopian tube. After the insemination, patients will be asked to remain lying down for about 5 minutes before they can go home.

Recovery

For the week following an IUI procedure, patients will be asked to avoid strenuous activities and stress. They will also need to use progesterone suppositories three times daily until pregnancy is confirmed or menstruation begins. Some spotting is normal as well as cramping. At least 14 days must pass between the injection of hCG and a blood pregnancy test. Regardless if you get your period within the 14 day period, if important that you complete the pregnancy test (in the clinical setting) to confirm the pregnancy.

To learn about all of your options for assisted reproduction in Toronto, contact ReproMed for a consultation. We provide a full range of fertility services, including advanced reproductive technologies, counseling, donor services, and holistic support. To become a patient with us, call (972) 494-5438.

An Introduction to the Changes of Pregnancy

For women who have undergone successful fertility treatment, it can be helpful to gain a better understanding of what happens next during pregnancy as you seek care with assisted reproduction. In this video, you will get a look at what happens during the three trimesters of pregnancy to encourage the healthy and rapid growth of the fetus. As you will learn, hormones play a key role in development as the body undergoes significant changes.

At ReproMed, we are dedicated to achieving healthy pregnancies in Toronto with a wide range of infertility treatments, including IVF and intrauterine insemination. To learn more about our services, visit us online or call (972) 494-5438.

Spotlight on Ovulation and Its Detection

Understanding ovulation is critical when attempting to conceive naturally or through assisted reproduction in fertility treatment. Ovulation occurs when an egg is released from its follicle within one of the ovaries. During natural conception, this will allow the sperm to fertilize the egg prior to implantation. With in-vitro fertilization, and other means of assisted reproduction, ovulation is an important step in a treatment cycle in which a woman undergoes egg retrieval or artificial insemination, depending on her fertility treatment needs. This ovulation step takes place after stimulation and follicular development.

What happens during ovulation?

Ovulation is triggered by a spike in luteinizing hormone (LH), which will occur about 36 hours before an egg is released. If an egg is fertilized following ovulation, it will hopefully implant in the uterus, beginning a pregnancy. If this does not happen, the endometrial lining is shed during menstruation, which completes the cycle. Though ideally ovulation will take place on a regular, predictable schedule, there are a number of different problems that can disrupt the process, resulting in infertility. Utilizing various ovulation methods, physicians specializing in reproductive medicine can pinpoint the appropriate treatment option for patients experiencing infertility as a result of ovulation irregularities.

How do you know when ovulation is taking place?

When a woman has a normal menstrual cycle, predicting ovulation is simply a matter of timing. For many women, however, there is a need for clinical or at-home tests to monitor ovulation. One of the simplest at-home methods is a urine test to measure LH levels, which are often used in conjunction with basal body temperature tracking, as this temperature will indicate different stages of the menstrual cycle. These tests however are not always accurate and many cases, physicians may recommend transvaginal ultrasound, endometrial biopsy, or blood tests to measure hormone levels.

From ovulation induction to egg donation, in-vitro fertilization, ReproMed provides comprehensive care in reproductive medicine to treat male and female factor infertility in Toronto. To schedule a consultation with our experienced team, call us at (972) 494-5438 or visit our website to further explore our services.

Talking to Your Child About Donor Sperm

As a sperm bank and fertility center, our focus and expertise lies in the “medical aspects” related to reproductive medicine. Sometimes patients will ask questions that encompass various “social aspects” in regards to raising a family and supporting children as they grow. Though many of these topics fall outside our scope of practice, we always try our best to direct patients in the right direction for support or suggest practitioners and counselors they may wish to talk to.

A common question we receive is around the notion of talking to a child about their conception through donor sperm. These patients often have unique experiences in the development of their families and part of this experience may include discussing the use of a sperm donor with their child at some point in the future. Again, though this is outside our scope of expertise, we wanted to share some aspects of this topic to assist those that wish to explore this more in depth.

For some parents, this conversation may assist in the child’s history, health, and development. For others, this conversation may arise when children who grow up with talents, looks, and interests totally distinct from those of their parents may begin to wonder why these differences exist.

Regardless of family dynamics, some may wish for their children to grow up with the knowledge that they were conceived through a sperm donor from the beginning. Early knowledge of this may create an open environment for discussion as the child gets older and they want to explore this topic.

The specific details of your discussion will vary. One theme that may present itself is that a sperm donor, while an important part of your child’s conception, is not his or her parent. You might develop a narrative in which the sperm donor is an individual who wanted to help you start a family, but is not directly part of the family. Sometimes the terms used in the discussion, such as “biological father,” can have a great impact on the child’s understanding so it is always important to keep this in mind.

At ReproMed, you will not only find innovative care in assisted reproduction, but you will have the support of counselors and experienced staff members who can provide insight to help you start your family. For more information about our services or appointment booking, call (972) 494-5438 or visit our website.

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