A couple weeks ago we celebrated the birthday of the first baby born through successful IVF treatment. Today we take a look back to appreciate all the advances IVF treatment has had in the last 34 years. From the first success in a town in Great Britain, IVF has resulted in 5 million births worldwide!
Improvements in IVF Treatment
Stimulating Medications and Trigger Injections
Pharmaceutical companies are continually working to improve medications for fertility and IVF treatment. Over time, medications have been developed to stimulate the ovaries to induce the maturation of more than one egg. Additionally, trigger injections to improve timing and final egg maturation have been developed, in addition to other medications as Lupron and Ganirelix. These medications have proven invaluable in the overall improvement of the success of an IVF cycle.
In the early days of IVF, intramuscular injections were administered at fertility center offices. Today, many patients may administer subcutaneous injections to themselves at home.
Finding More Diagnoses than Blocked Tubes
While the early IVF cases were for women with tubal issues, other diagnoses were excluded. Today, endometriosis, male factor, advanced reproductive age, ovulatory dysfunctions, and unexplained infertility can be overcome with the help of IVF.
Improved Culture Media
The first IVF cases were done with 4 and 5 day transfers, without the assistance of sequential media (the stuff in the petri dish) that could nourish the embryo over these important few days. Today, patients typically have a Day 5 transfer, with culture media designed to assist the early embryos in their growth and development.
In early IVF treatment, it was common to transfer the embryo into the fallopian tubes; however, nowadays, most embryo transfers are directly into the uterus.
Attention to Lab Factors
ICSI, or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, is done for those ‘severe male factor’ cases with either limited sperm, or sperm of poor morphology or motility. In ICSI, a single normal sperm is injected into the egg itself, to promote fertilization. This technique was pioneered and developed in the early 1990s.
Another advancement that recently has helped improved IVF treatment is vitrification, the new technique to freeze eggs and embryos has extended the success and use of IVF cycles. This improved ‘fast freeze technique’ is now standard in most clinics, though only in the last several years. See Shady Grove Fertility’s success rates with vitrification.
AFC and AMH -These newer ovarian reserve tests give informative data to help with protocol selection and patient counseling.
PGD – Pre-genetic screening or disease testing can help identify embryos that carry a genetic disease, or aneuploidy. This can help in transferring unaffected embryos. Read our Genetic Screening Q&A.
Psychological support groups exist to help address questions, needs, and concerns as one goes through infertility. Support groups are an inestimable source of comfort and help, and assist those who go through fertility treatment along their journey. Shady Grove Fertility offers support groups in several locations (view calendar).
Resolve is a national nonprofit group that supports those individuals and families on their fertility journey.
CAM (complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine) is a class of treatment modalities (acupuncture, massage, yoga, herbal supplements, vitamins, among others) to assist in fertility treatment successes.
IVF Treatment – 34 Years Later
The last thirty-four years has seen the development and fine-tuning of many different medications, techniques and support to help the 1 in 8 couples who will experience infertility in their lifetime. These advancements have occurred because caring, focused and knowledgeable people have striven to improve the experience and success of infertility treatments.
To schedule a New Patient Appointment with Shady Grove Fertility please call 1-877-971-7755 or click here.