We help individuals and couples overcome obstacles to achieve their dream of a family, regardless of nationality, sexual orientation, or marital status. Our team specializes in challenging cases, and we are confident in our ability to start or grow your family. Embrace this unique opportunity to have control of your family building journey.
Infertility Diagnosis and Testing
Reproductive Sciences Medical Center is the leader in infertility solutions. Many fertility centers don’t take the time to correctly diagnose a couple’s infertility. They’ll immediately recommend costly and time-consuming treatments, when only basic fertility treatment might be necessary. At Reproductive Sciences Medical Center, our doctors recommend a customized set of diagnostic tests after they’ve been evaluated.
In the United States, approximately 6% of couples who want to get pregnant either cannot conceive or are unable to carry a pregnancy to term. The numbers break down as follows:
- One-third are due to female infertility,
- One-third are due to male fertility,
- Both partners infertility attribute to the remaining third
How is Female Infertility Diagnosed?
If a woman under 35 is unable to conceive after a year of unprotected sex, or 6 months if she’s over 35, then it may be time to consider infertility tests. Health care providers may utilize different diagnostic exams along with her medical history.
- Ovulation Testing: Doctors may run a blood test to measure progesterone levels. This will determine if enough is being produced and if ovulation has occurred.
- Hormone Testing:There are a variety of hormones associated with reproduction. We may test for levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FHS) and anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) to determine a woman’s remaining egg supply. High FHS may indicate ovarian failure or perimenopause. Low FSH levels may indicate reduced egg production. While AMH indicates the presence of growing follicles.
- Hysterosalpingography: a contrast dye is injected into the uterus and an X-ray is taken to detect abnormalities in the uterine cavity. This examination will determine whether there is a blockage in the fallopian tubes that prevents movement of the egg from the ovaries.
- Laparoscopy: this is a surgery that involves utilizing a laparoscope, a small viewing instrument, to examine the female reproductive organs for blockages.
- Ovarian Reserve Testing: a series of blood and imaging tests that help determine the quality and quantity of eggs available for ovulation. This test is usually reserved for women over 35 who are more likely to have a low ovarian reserve.
- Transvaginal Ultrasound: A type of ultrasound used to transmit images of your pelvis. It will check for scarring, uterine fibroids, and polyps. This may be recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Hysteroscopy: A hysteroscopy may also be used to determine if there is scarring, uterine fibroids, or polyps in a woman’s uterus. A long camera is inserted into the vagina and its feed appears on a monitor for examination.
How is Male Infertility Diagnosed?
Men are usually checked for fertility problems at the same time as their female partner. Age does not play as much of a factor in male fertility as it does in female fertility since men continually produce new sperm from the time they hit puberty to old age. The following are used for initial examinations.
- Physical examination: a physician will examine the testes and penis to identify any issues such as hernia, infection, and hormone deficiency that may affect fertility.
- Urinalysis: will check for infection.
- Semen evaluation: used to assess sperm motility, the shape and maturity of the sperm, the volume of the ejaculate, the sperm count and the liquidity of the ejaculate.
- Hormonal tests: evaluate levels of testosterone, thyroid hormones, prolactin and FSH, so the overall balance of the hormonal system can be determined.
Generally, the problem can be diagnosed after the first round of testing. However, if the problem is not obvious after the first round of testing, more advanced testing might be necessary. These tests can include: seminal fructose test, post-ejaculate urinalysis, semen leukocyte analysis, Kruger and world health organization (WHO) morphology, anti-sperm antibodies test, sperm penetration assay (SPA), ultrasound, testicular biopsy, vasography, and genetic testing.
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, is the process by which eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilized in a laboratory cultural dish (in vitro). The IVF process also includes ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, embryo transfer, and egg/embryo freezing.
Unlike Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), IVF involves additional steps which include egg retrieval, embryo creation, and embryo transfer. Since its introduction in the U.S. in 1981, IVF and other similar techniques have resulted in more than 200,000 babies.
The Process of IVF Treatment
Step 1: Stimulation
Medication and injections are administered to stimulate your ovaries to develop a greater number of mature eggs for fertilization. Your physician will create a personalized medication schedule that details the necessary fertility drugs and hormone injections you will need. Each woman responds to fertility drugs and hormones different, so one may experience certain side effects while another may not. Your provider will monitor you carefully, help you understand the changes in your body, and keep track of how your follicles are developing.
Step 2: Egg Retrieval and Sperm Collection
The egg retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure that lasts approximately 20-30 minutes. You will be put to sleep by anesthesia for the procedure. Using ultrasound technology, your physician will retrieve your eggs with a fine, hollow needle attached to an ultrasound scan probe. Once the eggs are retrieved, your partner’s fresh sample of semen or the frozen or donated sperm you have selected beforehand is obtained for fertilization. The sperm are washed, and the best-quality sperm extracted will be used to fertilize the eggs.
Step 3: Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
For fertilization to occur, the retrieved egg and highest-quality sperm is combined and left in a dish to culture in an incubator. The dish is checked on to see if any of the eggs have been fertilized. A fertilized egg is called an embryo, or a blastocyst on the fifth day of development. The healthiest embryos are chosen to be inserted into your (or a chosen surrogate’s) uterus. Two weeks after the embryo transfer, your physician will take a final blood test to measure the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels. Relatively high hCG typically suggests a positive pregnancy test.
Why consider IVF?
- Low sperm counts
- Problems with the uterus or blocked/damaged Fallopian tubes
- Problems with ovulation
- Antibody problems that harm sperm or eggs
- The inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus
- Unsuccessful use of fertility drugs or other treatments such as IUI
- Unsuccessful after two year of trying to conceive
- Other unexplained reasons for infertility
RSMC offers some of the most experienced San Diego IVF doctors
With over 150 years of combined experience, our medical team has addressed a variety of situations, including some of the most challenging fertility cases. To improve our services and patient care, we’ve established over 40 IVF protocols, which can translate into hundreds of personalized treatments. Every situation is unique and there are many factors that can affect fertility. Having several protocols means we can start with the best treatment option, based on each individual situation. Doing so, gives our patients the best chance for a successful pregnancy.
What is Egg Donation?
Egg donation is an assisted reproductive method that allows individuals and couples to experience parenthood by using another woman’s eggs. Utilizing donor eggs is a great option for women who are unable to naturally reproduce using their own eggs, and for men who need an egg to produce an embryo. The process involves utilizing eggs from a younger woman and fertilizing them with sperm to create and embryo. The embryo is than implanted in the intended mother or surrogates uterus via IVF.
One of the main benefits of egg donation is its high success rate. Our donors are thoroughly screened to ensure that they have high-quality and viable eggs. Egg quality plays a big role in success rates, which makes using donor eggs a great option for women struggling to get pregnant on their own.
Our extensive donor database and egg bank consist of a wide variety of donors worldwide, allowing you to select the egg donor that best suits your wants and needs.
Our Egg Bank, where a large selection of quality eggs are frozen through vitrification and stored in our on-site laboratory, makes your journey to parenthood shorter and less risky. It puts you in complete control of your timeline, since banked eggs are available for immediate use. Additionally, selecting donors from our bank eliminates waiting time and unforeseen setbacks. With our egg bank, you maximize success rates due to a guaranteed yield of mature eggs.
Our extensive donor database allows you to find your perfect match. Whether you are looking for a donor with high IQ, specific aesthetics, gifts or talents, our matching program assures you have the opportunity to select the characteristics most important to you. With a fresh donor, you will also have the opportunity to ask the donor any questions you may have and the pool of eggs will not be divided or shared with other intended parents.
Why consider egg donation?
- Advanced maternal age
- Premature ovarian failure
- Ovarian failure after cancer treatment
- Repetitive IVF failure or miscarriage
- Inherited genetic disease and chromosomal abnormalities when PGD cannot be accomplished or has been unsuccessful
- Anatomical issues preventing oocyte retrieval
- Gay Male Couple or individual
Available Banked Egg Donors
What is Gestational Surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy is the term used to describe the process in which a woman carries a pregnancy to term on behalf of another woman. The intended parents are intimately involved with the pregnancy, are typically present at the birth, and assume parenting responsibilities immediately thereafter.
The gestational surrogacy process involves using the eggs of the intended mother and the sperm of the intended father. In some cases, donor eggs and/or sperm may be used. The egg is than inseminated via IVF and transferred to the surrogate. Some intended parents will ask a friend or family member to be their surrogate, but many do go through and agency. At RSMC all surrogates have met doctor-established criteria, undergone extensive medical evaluations and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Exceptional Team and Program
We know that finding the right surrogate can be both financially and emotionally draining. Your search for the perfect match starts and ends with our center. Not only do we have the nation’s largest surrogacy program, our center provides an all-inclusive, service-oriented approach that minimizes financial, physical, and emotional risks.
Because of our innovative and integrated approach, we can provide you with surrogates who have already been pre-screened with our proprietary, OB-designed process, offering you peach of mind and confidence.
When to Consider Surrogacy?
- You’re unable to conceive because of uterine irregularities
- You have a history of multiple failed IVF cycles without a known cause
- You have a medical condition that could cause great risk to yourself or your baby during pregnancy
- When used in conjunction with donor eggs, surrogacy offers single men, LGBT-individuals, and couples an opportunity to become
Why Choose RSMC for Surrogacy?
High Pregnancy Success Rate – For over 10 years our surrogacy pregnancy rate has been over 80% and over 87% using donor eggs*. This is a direct result of our embryologists and IVF doctors over 40 years combined experience.
Comprehensive Matching Process – Our matching process relies on detailed criteria to assure the greatest compatibility. You will receive an in-depth profile of the surrogate, including photographs, medical history, education and other relevant information. We’re proud of our 100% match rate.
Stringent Surrogate Screening and Selection – Our selection standards are much more strict than the widely accepted FDA standards. Prior to being accepted into our program, prospective surrogates undergo a thorough pre-screening by an OB physician, preliminary diagnostic screening, background check, intensive psychological assessment and complete a full medical evaluation.
OB/GYN Controlled Pregnancy – An experienced physician will closely monitor the surrogate and create a delivery and birth plan. Detailed reports on both the baby and surrogate will be sent directly to the parents, who can also communicate directly with the physician.
Dedicated Personal Support – Both you and the surrogate will be provided a Case Manager throughout the process to provide constant communication and support. Our psychologist monitors surrogates to ensure continued emotional stability and a clean lifestyle. Post-delivery support includes legal documents, pediatrician referral and continued Case Manager and psychologist services.
Clear Legal Guidelines – All parties are represented by independent legal counsel, eliminating any conflicts of interest. Clear terms and guidelines are established for the entire process. Establishment of Parental Rights puts your name on the birth certificate.
Please See Our Current Roster of Surrogates Available For Matching
What is IUI?
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also referred to as artificial insemination, is a type of assisted reproductive treatment. During an IUI procedure, washed and prepared sperm is placed near the egg inside the uterus during an ovulation cycle. Fertility drugs are often used to help track ovulation and increase changes of success. The timing of insemination is critical due to the short length of an ovulation cycle and the life span of sperm.
The Process of IUI Treatment
Step 1: Ovulation Induction
IUI typically takes place during a natural ovulation cycle without the use of fertility drugs. The procedure is done between day 12 and 16 of a woman’s menstrual cycle. In certain situations, fertility drugs may be used to help stimulate your ovaries and develop multiple mature eggs for fertilization. If needed, fertility drugs are typically administered at the beginning of a menstrual cycle.
Step 2: Insemination
Once ovulation occurs, the washed and selected sperm will be inserted using a thin catheter(tube) through your cervix and into the uterus. If ovulation doesn’t occur, you may be administered an HCG shot. Once the shot is administered, the insemination process will continue within 24 to 40 hours.
Why consider IUI?
- You have mild endometriosis
- Borderline low sperm count
- Low sperm quality or poor mobility
- You are unable to have sex due to limitations such as a disability, injury, or you experience premature ejaculation.
RSMC offers some of the most experienced IUI fertility doctors in San Diego
With over 150 years of combined experience, we have addressed a variety of situations, including some of the most challenging fertility cases. In order to find the best treatment option for you, we have established over 40 selected protocols, giving you the best chance for a successful pregnancy.
What is ICSI?
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI- pronounced ick-see) is an IVF procedure, where a single sperm cell is injected directly into the cytoplasm of the egg. This reduces the dependence on the strength and motility of the sperm. Nearly half of all IVF treatments involve ICSI, since it is the most successful treatment for male infertility. ICSI increases the chance of pregnancy because it maximizes the change of fertilization by eliminating any issues for the sperm’s ability to reach the egg.
The Process of ICSI Treatment
Step 1: Extraction
A sperm sample is taken from the man’s semen or is extracted from his testes if he has trouble ejaculating with sperm. Motile sperm are selected, prepared, and washed for insemination. Additionally, the woman’s eggs are surgically extracted from her ovaries. Mature eggs are chosen for injection.
Step 2: Insemination
Using a thin, hollow needle, the selected sperm cell is carefully injected into the cytoplasm of the chosen egg.
Step 3: Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
The dish is placed in an incubator to allow for fertilization. After fertilization has taken place, the embryo is then transferred into the uterus or frozen for future implantation.
When to consider ICSI?
- Male patients with a low or zero sperm count.
- Male patients with a high percentage of abnormally shaped sperm. This can result in poor sperm motility.
- Sperm that can’t be ejaculated but can be collected from the testicles or from the epididymis where sperm is stored. This may be due to an irreversible vasectomy or injury.
- Sperm can’t get to the egg at all.
- Sperm can get to the egg, but for some reason can’t fertilize it
- Inability to get an erection and ejaculation, due to spinal cord injuries, diabetes, or other health conditions.
What are PGS & PGD?
Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) are both IVF procedures designed to examine your embryos for chromosomal abnormalities. An embryo biopsy is performed on day 5 or 6 to examine all 24 chromosomes- the 22 non-sex chromosomes plus the two sex chromosomes (X&Y) in time for your embryo transfer. If you are concerned about gender-based hereditary diseases or are looking for “family balancing” options, PGS and PGD can also identify the gender of the embryo. The differences between the two procedures are as follows:
Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) – A screening process that ensures there are normal chromosome numbers and detects potential genetic disorders.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) – A cell is removed from an embryo to test for specific genetic conditions (i.e. cystic fibrosis) before transferring the embryo into the uterus.
Screening for healthy embryos will increase your pregnancy success rate. Both procedures are 99.9% accurate.
PGS and PGD Testing
Step 1: Embryo Development
After the egg has been fertilized, embryos are transferred into a fluid that allows them to develop for several days. On day three, the healthy embryos should have developed into eight cells.
Step 2: Partial Removal
When the embryos are ready for PGS and PGD testing, six to eight cells are extracted from the embryo (usually after day 5 or 6). This is called a blastocyst biopsy. During the biopsy, our laboratory technician uses a narrow biopsy pipette to remove cells from the outer layer of cells (trophectoderm). The embryologist will then freeze the embryo and wait for the test results.
Step 3: Genetic Testing
Genetic testing is usually completed within one day of the embryo biopsy, which allows for a timely embryo transfer. During this step, chromosomes are inspected for genetic abnormalities.
Who should consider PGS or PGD Testing?
- Female patients 38 or older
- Patients who have experienced 3 or more failed IVF attempts (can be of any age)
- Those who want to screen for inherited genetics disorders or diseases
- Patients wishing to screen for sex-linked diseases such as hemophilia
- Carriers of chromosomal translocations
- Women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages
- Patients in need of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) testing
- Intended parents who wish to choose their child’s gender
RSMC has some of the most experienced lab technicians in San Diego
Our highly experienced embryologists and lab specialists have over 30 years combined experience. They have tackled some of the toughest fertility cases and have conducted numerous PGS and PGD procedures. Our location in San Diego has a state-of-the-art lab onsite as well as a full-time laboratory director. This allows us to be efficient and time everything perfectly. We can perform a biopsy on each patient’s embryo when it’s safest to do so, based on the embryo’s quality and stage of development. Having an experienced team gives you the best chance for a successful pregnancy.
What is Oncofertility?
Oncofertility focuses solely on fertility preservation options for couples and individuals dealing with a cancer diagnosis. With Oncofertility, you can preserve your fertility prior to cancer treatment, allowing you to potentially create a healthy family after survival.
Cancer Treatments’ Effect on Fertility
A lot of things must take place for a couple to successfully conceive. Cancer treatments can interfere with some aspects of the reproductive process and thus affecting your ability to have children. Everyone does react to treatment differently, so it’s helpful to prepare.
There are other factors to consider as well, such as age, the types of drugs used, and the doses of drugs given. In some cases, it may be too high of a risk to delay cancer treatment.
Cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy can cause:
- Early menopause or irregular menstrual cycle
- High chances of ovaries getting damaged during pelvic and abdominal surgery.
- Egg damage
- High chances of miscarriages.
- A decrease in sterility or sperm count.
- A decrease in semen production or an inability to produce semen
- Damage to testes, thyroid and adrenal glands. These glands release hormones that stimulate puberty and control fertility
Other cancer treatment options such as hormone therapies and surgery can also have a negative effect on fertility. Some hormone therapies may prevent ovulation completely since a woman is put into temporary menopause. Hormone therapies used to treat prostate cancer can also affect sperm production.
Surgery on certain parts of the reproductive system can cause infertility. For some cancers, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is part of the treatment. Once the uterus is removed, a woman cannot carry a child. The ovaries might be removed (an oophorectomy) at the same time the uterus is taken out. Without ovaries, a woman can’t get pregnant because she no longer has any eggs. In some cases, the physician will try and save one ovary in order to preserve a woman’s fertility.
Sometimes surgery can cause scarring in the fallopian tubes, which may block the tubes. This prevents an egg from traveling to meet the sperm. This means an embryo cannot be formed and move onto the uterus to implant in the lining.
For men, treatment for testicular cancer may involve the removal of one testicle (orchiectomy), which is common. In some cases, such as prostate cancer, both testicles may be removed (bilateral orchiectomy) to stop testosterone production and slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. If sperm is not cryopreserved prior to treatment, the male will not be able to father children.
Schedule a Consultation
We understand that preserving your fertility is a big concern when battling cancer. We also understand that walking into another doctor’s office is the last thing that you want to do. Therefore, instead of coming into our office to discuss your options, we are more than happy to do a consultation over Skype. We believe that a cancer diagnosis shouldn’t come between you and the dream of starting your own family.
What is egg and embryo freezing?
Human oocyte cryopreservation, commonly known as egg freezing, is the process in which a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen and stored. When she is ready to start her family, the eggs are than thawed. Embryos are created via IVF and transferred into her uterus. With the advances in technology, the pregnancy rate when using frozen eggs continues to improve.
Embryo cryopreservation, commonly referred to as embryo freezing, is the process in which created embryos are frozen and stored for later use. Embryos are often frozen if an individual or couple plan on having multiple children.
Over the last 10 years, more women are choosing to delay childbearing. However, after the age of 30 fertility rapidly declines, and even more so after the age of 35. Fortunately, women now have more control and can preserve their fertility by freezing their healthy eggs at a young age and undergo IVF when they are ready.
When to consider egg freezing?
- You have a condition, or are facing medical treatment for a condition, that may affect your fertility (chemotherapy for example)
- You are concerned about your fertility declining as you get older and are not currently in a position to have a child
- You wish to focus on other aspects of your life before starting a family
State of the Art Laboratory
Here at RSMC, we continue to lead the industry by minimizing risks and maximizing success rates with the help of our of state-of-the-art lab and skilled members. Rest at ease knowing that your eggs and embryos are handled and stored securely in a laboratory featuring advanced technology, up to date accreditation, and talented lab technicians.
What is Frozen Embryo Transfer?
A frozen embryo transfer (FET) is when cryopreserved embryos are thawed and transferred to a woman’s uterus. Patients may ask to freeze and store any extra embryos that are not used in their first cycle for a variety of reasons. They may want a second child or have had a failed initial cycle. In some cases, their hormonal profile and/or their uterine lining is not optimal during a fresh IVF cycle. Before the embryos are transferred, blood tests and ultrasound scans are conducted. This enables the physician to identify the appropriate point in the patient’s cycle to transfer the embryos. Some patients may need to take hormone medication to prepare for the transfer.
FET with Hormonal Support
For patients with irregular cycles and/or have time constraints, their physician may recommend FET with hormonal support. In this case, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are administered to suppress or control ovulation as well as ensure that the patient’s uterine lining is prepared for the transfer. Embryo transfer takes place on the third or fifth day of progesterone support.
FET Natural Cycle
FET natural cycles, on the other hand, do not involve medications that control ovulation, instead it is based on when ovulation naturally occurs. The patient’s doctor closely monitors her menstrual cycle through blood tests and ultrasound to identify the optimal day for embryo transfer. The frozen embryos are thawed and are transferred to the uterus.
Until the flash freezing process, known as vitrification was introduced a decade ago, frozen embryos had a very low implantation and live birth rate. There were various reasons for the low numbers. One of the primary issues was the freezing process itself. The slow freezing method enabled ice crystals to form within the embryo, which damaged it to the point at which they were not longer viable. Fortunately with the development vitrification, over 90% of the frozen embryos survive thawing and are the same quality as fresh embryos. Vitrification is the process of freezing eggs and embryos with extremely rapid cooling, which is too fast for crystals to form. The improvements in the freezing process and in the selection of embryos process, frozen embryos are now frequently used and proven to result in successful pregnancies.
What is Sperm Cryopreservation?
Sperm cryopreservation, commonly referred to as sperm freezing is a procedure to preserve sperm cells. Cryopreservation can be used for sperm donation, or as a means of preserving fertility for men undergoing vasectomy or treatments that may compromise their fertility, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Cryopreservation can also be performed on eggs, more commonly known as egg freezing.
Sperm Cryopreservation Process
Step 1: Physical Examination
Patients will be screened for infection such as HIV, hepatitis or syphilis.
Step 2: Sperm Sample
The male patient will provide a semen sample through masturbation. If the patient does not produce sperm in the ejaculation, a sperm sample may be taken from his testes involving MESA, a surgical retrieval.
Step 3: Freezing and Storage
The collected sperm samples are separated into multiple containers. Skilled lab technicians will use cryoprotectant, a substance used to protect the sperm from freezing damage. The frozen vials of sperm are stored in the lab until the patient is ready to use them again.
Who should consider Sperm Cryopreservation?
- Men with advancing age
- Men with poor sperm quality
- Men with low sperm quantity
- Males who plan on seeking cancer treatment
- Pre-vasectomy patients
What is MESA?
Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA) is an IVF procedure, in which sperm from the patient is obtained from the epididymis, a tube at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm. If the epididymis itself is blocked or absent, sperm can be extracted from the testicles. MESA is often used for men with no sperm in their semen due to a blockage or an absence of the vas deferens (the tube which leads from the testes). These men may be producing sperm in large numbers, but due to the blockage or absence of the vas deferens, none is seen in the semen. This condition is similar to men who have had a vasectomy.
The Process of MESA Treatment
Step 1: Incision
The physician will provide local anesthesia before creating a small incision to access the epididymis.
Step 2: Aspiration
A very tiny needle is passed through the scrotum and into the epididymis, where sperm is aspirated.
Step 3: Fertilization or Preservation
The collected sperm are examined and evaluated for its health, strength, and motility. The patient may choose to utilize the sperm to fertilize his partner’s or a donor’s egg. The patient may also choose to preserve the sperm for later use.
Who should consider MESA?
- Men with azoospermia (no sperm in ejaculate)
- Men with obstructive problems due to vasectomy
- Men with congenital absence of vas deferens
- Patients with scarred vas deferens
What is Assisted Embryo Hatching?
During the early stages of development, the embryo is held in a layer of proteins called the zona pellucida. IVF cycles may fail due to the inability of the embryo to hatch out of this layer of proteins and are prevented from implanting in the uterus. Assisted embryo hatching is a lab technique that was developed when it was observed that embryos with a thin zona pellucida had a higher rate of implantation during in vitro fertilization (IVF). Women over the age of 35 are usually advised to try assisted embryo hatching to improve implantation success.
Performed in conjunction with an IVF cycle and prior to embryo transfer, an embryologist thins the zona pellucida by creating a small hole in the outer lining using micromanipulation techniques under a microscope during the Day 4 of embryo development. Assisted hatching is a part of our PGD process; therefore patients who opt for PGD automatically receive this additional service.
The Process of Assisted Embryo Hatching
Step 1: Thinning or Rupture
The embryo is held with a specialized holding pipette. A very delicate, hollow needle is used to expel the acidic solution against the outer “shell” (zona pellucida) of the embryo. The acidic solution creates a small hole in the shell.
Step 2: Washing
The embryo is then washed and put back to culture in the incubator.
Step 3: Transfer
The day after hatching, the embryo is transferred to the uterus where it will hopefully implant and result in a successful pregnancy.
Who should consider Assisted Embryo Hatching?
- Women over the age of 35
- Patients who have had multiple failures with IVF cycles
- Patients with abnormal zonae