Wednesday, November 24, 2010
California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. has released our November 2010 edition of our infertility newsletter titled "Babies in Davis". In the first edition of our infertility newsletter, we discuss what it takes to make us more than just a fertility center. Our extended family and the referrals from the Sacramento area doctors help make us the successful clinic we want to be and our patients deserve. We are very aware that our patients would rather get pregnant on their own without having to go to the local infertility clinic. When patients see our help, the California IVF family is happy to adopt new members into our family so we can work together to provide the best possible chances of having a baby. Our family is what makes us great.Photos from the previous reunion fill the pages of our newsletter along with other interesting stories and announcements. California IVF has announced a donor embryo program know as California Conceptions, an egg freezing program, and recently launched our online egg donor application. It has been a busy year for the staff and infertility doctors at California IVF: Davis Fertility Center. Continuing to expand our services is important in our efforts to provide our patients with the very best infertility treatments.
Rounding out the newsletter is a brief article on surgical services for our infertility patients. Many of our patients seeking infertility treatment help with inseminations (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) are not aware that our doctors perform many infertility surgery procedures to help correct problems that affect fertility. Among these surgeries are myomectomies, or surgeries to remove uterine tumors that can prevent pregnancies, hysteroscopies to correct uterine polyps and remove a uterine septum, and tubal ligation reversal surgery which allows a woman to have her tubes put back together after a tubal ligation surgery.
Stay tuned for more interesting developments including an option to sign up to receive our newsletter via email. Once again, we would like to give thanks to our family that was able to make it to our third annual family reunion. It was a rainy day but that didn't stop our event! It was a great day of "babies and bellies" in the park. Photos from our events as well as an electronic copy of our newsletter can be found at http://www.babiesindavis.com/.
© California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. Male and female infertility specialists near Sacramento.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The embryologist in an in vitro fertilisation program (IVF) plays a vital role in the journey to pregnancy for a couple struggling with infertility. During the course of infertility treatments, the embryologist will be involved from the start to finish of an in vitro fertilization – IVF cycle. During the testing phase before IVF treatments, the embryologists will prepare the embryology lab for infertility treatments by regulating and testing environmental conditions in the embryology laboratory including temperature, air quality, and humidity. Ordering supplies and the culture media, or liquids used to grow the embryos, is also a necessary step when preparing to start an IVF cycle.
Testing of sperm and freeing sperm samples from couples about to undergo treatment is another job of the embryologist during the testing phase Often, an embryologist will also work in the role of an andrologist, which is an individual that works with sperm.
In the IVF program at California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc., our embryologist Deborah Johnson conducts an educational seminar before patients undergo the egg collection procedure, or oocyte retrieval. This “egg class” is designed to introduce infertility patients to embryology and terminology used in an embryology laboratory.
During the egg retrieval procedure, embryologists receive test tubes containing liquid removed from the ovaries. The embryologist will search this fluid under a microscope and identify the eggs. The eggs are collected together and placed into petri dishes for the remainder of the IVF process. The embryologist is also responsible for fertilizing the eggs with sperm by conventional insemination techniques or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
ICSI is a more complicated procedure that involves using microscopic instruments to remove the cumulus cells surrounding the egg, allowing the embryologist to assess egg maturity and egg quality. After the sperm preparation procedure, an individual sperm is injected into each egg. When ICSI is not needed, sperm are placed in the dish with the eggs after the sperm preparation or sperm washing procedure is completed.
The day after the sperm and eggs are combined, the embryologist checks for fertilization by examining each egg under the microscope. Eggs that did not undergo ICSI will need to have the outer cells removed so the embryologist can perform the fertilization check. The fertilized eggs, or zygotes, are placed into an incubator that has been regulated to control gas mixture, temperature, and several other conditions. Optimal conditions in the embryology laboratory will allow the zygote to progress to the cell division stage, at which point the zygote becomes an embryo. The embryologist will check on the embryos and change the culture media as needing during the 3 to 5 days before the embryo transfer procedure.
Embryologists also perform embryo biopsy procedures on embryos at day 3 or day 5. During the embryo biopsy procedure, an embryologist must rely on experience to remove a single cell from an embryo while minimizing the risk of damage to the embryo. The embryologist will work with the laboratory performing the genetic test and coordinate the handling of the cells and test results. The embryologists skill at performing micromanipulation procedures on embryos can play a vital role in the success of IVF.
Using micro-surgical techniques, embryologists may also perform assisted hatching on embryos. During this procedure, microscopic tools are used to thin the outer shell of embryos and make a hole in the zona pellucida to facilitate the hatching process. The embryologist will also assess the quality of the embryos and provide the infertility doctor with a report on embryo quality. This information is used to determine if there are any issues with poor embryo quality that could affect the chances of a pregnancy.
When the best quality embryos are identified, the embryologists will load the embryos into the transfer catheter and work with the doctor to perform the embryo transfer procedure. Any remaining embryos that are not transferred and appear to have the capability of making a pregnancy, are frozen for later use. The embryologist is responsible for the cryopreservation of extra embryos during the IVF process.
Embryologists usually obtain their training in biologic sciences. Many embryologist gain their initial experience in animal laboratories before transferring into human IVF. Over the last few years, embryology training programs for human IVF have been formed. It is likely that there will be more of these programs in the future. Regardless of the training background of an embryologist, hands on experience is one of the most critical factors in an IVF lab.
California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. has some of the most experienced embryologists with over 30 years combined experience. Their experience allows us to easily adapt to developments in embryology that will help our family maximize our patient’s chances of having a baby.
--> © California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. Male and female infertility specialists near Sacramento.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
It is important to understand that any medication or dietary aid that is labeled with the words “nutritional supplement” or “dietary aid” are classified as food items by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that these supplements are not regulated by the same laws that regulate medications. Laws pertaining to medications require that new medications are equivalent or better to existing medications, and these medications can not be misrepresented in terms of their effects and side effects. Nutritional supplements do not even have to contain any medications, and there is not government oversight to protect against harmful contamination in these medications.
Scientific studies on some of these compounds showed very harmful contamination and broad ranges of chemicals and hormones that can have harmful effects. Infertility specialists are frequently asked for their opinion about these supplements and often encounter resistance when patients are advised to stop using these supplements. Most of this faith placed in these nutritional supplements comes from the marketing and hype placed on these nutritional aids and vitamins. This marketing does not take into account the well-being of infertility patients, but instead seeks only to make a profit. Infertility doctors are committed to the health and well being of their patients and keep up to date with all of the evidence-based treatments designed to improve an infertile couple’s chances of having a baby.
Vitamins may play a role in overall health, however, patients do not need to take anything more than a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin. It is recommended that women trying to conceive take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid (folate). In certain circumstances, women may be advised to take additional vitamins or other nutritional supplements, but should do so only under the advice of a physician or other health care provider.
California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. does not support the use of dietary supplements or nutritional aids, and remain concerned that many of these nutritional aids may have harmful effects in addition to being very expensive. There is no evidence that nutritional supplements for male and female infertility will have any benefits on the chances of having a baby. Please inform your physician of any and all nutritional aids, dietary supplements and vitamins that you are taking.
Our infertility doctors fully support and educate our patients about healthy eating and diet changes that can help women get pregnant. Diet can have a big effect on PCOS and having a baby. A balanced diet and healthy lifestyle including exercise and avoiding smoking and smokers can help improve a woman's fertility health and chances of conceiving.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Day 3 embryos are usually composed of 6-8 cells, and one cell is removed, fixed to a slide, and analyzed in the lab. Having only one cell to work with, though, can be a negative in several ways. Firstly, there’s always the chance that the material from one cell will not be enough to provide a sample for analysis. Secondly, there is the somewhat complicated issue of mosaicism.
As cells grow and divide, genetic mistakes can happen. Since the embryo is made up of several different dividing cells, it’s possible that some of the cells divide normally, while some of them create genetic mistakes during their division.
The result can be a mosaic embryo—one that has some normal cells and some genetically abnormal ones. The concern with embryo biopsy on Day 3 is that with removing only one cell, how do you know that all the other cells have the same genetic makeup?
Studies show that embryos that make genetic mistakes have a high tendency to correct themselves by the time they reach the blastocyst (Day 5) stage. In other words, the normal cells continue to grow and divide, forming a healthy embryo, and the genetically abnormal cells disperse. This phenomenon is called self-correction. So a significant concern with Day 3 embryo biopsy is that a single cell can be analyzed and identified as abnormal, leading to discarding of that embryo, while in fact, it could undergo the process of self-correction, leading to the discard of a perfectly fine embryo.
Day 5 embryo biopsy has definite advantages over Day 3 biopsy. Day 5 embryos generally have 100-150 cells, so usually 10-15 cells can be removed without harm. This allows a larger sample to test. The test is also run at the later, Day 5, stage, which allows for self-correction to happen. Also, by the time the embryo reaches the Day 5 stage, it has formed two separate structures: the inner cell mass, which can become a baby; and the trophectoderm, the outer cells which will form the placenta. The cells removed in the biopsy come from the trophectoderm, leaving the inner cell mass intact.
About Dr. Laurie Lovely:
Sacramento Infertility Specialist Dr. Laurie Lovely is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She has received a research grant from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for her work on the effects of hormones and the endometrial lining. She presented a prize-winning paper on the effects of stress and infertility at an annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Additional professional interests include pubertal problems and reconstructive tubal surgery including tubal ligation reversals.
--> © California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. Northern California Male and female infertility specialists near Sacramento and Roseville.
- 20-24 year old women have a 86% chance of conceiving in 12 months
- 25-29 year old women trying to conceive have a 78% chance of getting pregnant within a year
- 63% of women between the ages of 30-34 attain pregnancy naturally with 1 year
- At 35-39 years old, most women have a 54% chance when trying to get pregnant over the course of one year.
- After 40, a woman who is trying to conceive over 1 year has a 36% chance of pregnancy
- By 45, only 5% of women conceive a child naturally after one year of trying for a pregnancy
In addition, after 1 year of not conceiving, there is only a 5% chance of getting pregnant by waiting an additional 6 months to 1 year. Another way to view this information is by a woman’s chance of getting pregnant per month. During the first year of trying, a woman at age 23 would have an approximately 25% chance of pregnancy each month, whereas a woman at age 40 would have a 13% chance of pregnancy each month.
The decline in a woman’s chances of getting pregnant is not related to a woman’s health or how young she feels. The main cause for this decrease in the chances of getting pregnant lies within the genetics of the egg.
As a woman ages, the quality of the eggs deteriorates. The decline in quality causes an increased risk of chromosomal problems within the eggs, which leads to fewer normal eggs and an increased risk of miscarriages due to chromosomally abnormal embryos such as Down syndrome. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGD)of embryos is one way to detect chromosomally abnormal embryos.
There are not any known medications or treatments that can change the effects of age on the eggs, since the problem lies within the genetics of the eggs. When a woman’s ovary is being formed, the body sets aside cells that will make up the eggs within the ovary. A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have in life. The eggs have not finished their cell division and still contain 2 complete sets of chromosomes. Before an embryo can be formed, the egg must finish separating the chromosomes so that the egg will only contribute one set of chromosomes that add to the set of chromosomes provided by the sperm. Over time, the ability of the egg to separate the chromosomes normally starts to decline, and there will be an increase in the number of chromosomally abnormal eggs. Many eggs will stop living because of the abnormalities, though a woman may still ovulate normally. Some embryos will be formed from an abnormal egg, but most of these pregnancies will end in a miscarriage.
There are tests that can be used to detect abnormal eggs and embryos with genetic problems. These tests are referred to as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, PGD, and pre-implantation genetic screening, PGS. There are various techniques for looking at genetic material from embryos before pregnancy. California IVF continues to push forward with new clinical infertility treatments to help with recurrent pregnancy loss, testing eggs before pregnancy, and gender selection.
When an egg from a donor is used, pregnancy rates are generally not affected by age. Women who are interested in becoming an egg donor are younger, screened for infectious diseases and generally provide excellent chances for another woman to become pregnant. Additionally, women using donor eggs would be more likely to have extra embryos which could be used in a frozen embryo transfer so the overall pregnancy rate is even higher than depicted. Donor eggs are often used as an option for women who are unsuccessful using their own eggs or who have reached an age where their chances using their own eggs become too low.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Former fertility patients who are now pregnant or have successfully delivered babies were invited to bring their families to the annual event. Most of 100 plus children who attended the were conceived using treatments offered by California IVF such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination (IUI), egg donors, embryo adoption or tubal reversal surgery.
California IVF Director Dr. Ernest Zeringue says, "Seeing patients overcome infertility and get pregnant is one of the top reasons for choosing to become a fertility specialist. Most local fertility centers do not get the chance to see patients after a positive pregnancy test and hearing a baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound. We like to meet the children who help bring into the world and see the joy a baby brings to our former infertility patients.”
Saturday, October 16, 2010
As social media continues to expand, California IVF will continue to evaluate new and exciting ways to bring information to a broader audience. Over the coming years, infertility clinics may rely more on social networking than static web pages. We are working on several other exciting initiatives for content delivery. Until then, please visit us at the following locations:
Monday, October 4, 2010
Nobel Prize for IVF Pioneer Highlights How Far Local Fertility Clinics Have Come in Helping Patients Get Pregnant
Because of his work, the once revoluntionary and seemingly impossible task of fertilizing eggs outside of the womb is now commonplace at fertility centers across the country and around the world.
However, even as reproductive technology moves into new and exciting areas like the pre-implantation genetic screening of embryos (PGS), we will more than likely never get to look completely "under the hood" or know exactly why some people's eggs and sperm just don't seem to work. In many ways, this lack of knowing is what binds fertility experts with couples struggling to get pregnant.
Everyone is looking for a "glimpse behind the curtain" to find out why the magic and mystery of conception and child birth seems evasive to some potential parents. It is this basic human link between cutting edge fertility science and a woman's need to have a child that will drive the newest innovations in reproductive technology.
As Dr. Edward's probably knows, the latest technological advances may never compete with seeing the joy patients feel when they are finally pregnant and on their way to having a baby.
--> © California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. Male and female infertility specialists in the Sacramento, Roseville and greater Northern California area.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Using this option, eggs are taken from an egg donor, usually a woman in her 20’s who is healthy and has no history of infertility. The eggs are fertilized with the sperm from the recipient’s husband or partner. One to two embryos are transferred into the uterus of the recipient.
Infertility treatments with donor oocytes are associated with a 75% to 85% chance of success on the first try. Embryos that were frozen during the first treatment are available for transfer at a later time; further increasing the chances of having a baby.
Egg donors are screened for medical and psychological abnormalities using a variety of tools. In the past, donors completed a written questionnaire which was then mailed to the clinic for review. With the introduction of online applications, California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. is able to streamline the application process. The online donor application will also speed up the review and selection process for oocyte donor recipients.
Oocyte donor recipients are now able to review profiles electronically, view photographs of donor, and make their selection in a more efficient manner. This is a welcome addition to our already successful donor egg program. California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. has given patients some of the highest possible pregnancy rates using donor eggs. Maintaining a large database of donors will allow us to have a broad selection of donors available for matching and also allow us to select the best candidates to participate in our donor egg program.
--> © California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. Male and female infertility specialists near Sacramento.
Friday, September 10, 2010
According to a recent article in "Sexuality, Reproduction and Menopause":
- At 28 weeks' gestation, a developing female fetus has a maximum of 6 to 7 million immature eggs
- At birth, around 2 million eggs remain within immature follicles
- At puberty, there are about 500,000 follicles remaining
- At 38 years of age, around 25,000 follicles remain
- From 38 to about 51 years of age, follicle loss accelerates until the ovaries stop working
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Cost, Overhead and the Modern Embryology Lab
The combination of physician, embryologist and staff experience along with our modern embryology laboratory, which creates an environment that mimics the human body, is why we can help women get pregnant with in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, in addition to high staffing costs, maintaining a high tech lab contributes significant overhead and affects the cost of treatment. Major lab systems include the:
Air System – Designed by a specialized engineer, this system creates a positive airflow that pushes air out of the lab, limits temperature fluctuations within 1-2 degrees and constantly removes contaminants with four Hepa filtration units. It is inspected annually for clean air compliance and maintains a 96% seal from the outside world.
Gas System – The oxygen concentration of normal air is toxic to embryos. Specialized incubators, microscopes and handling techniques protect the embryos and maintain a gas mixer that optimizes growth.
Microscope System – Given the tiny size of embryos, high powered microscopes fitted with mechanical manipulation devices are required to perform treatments such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or embryo biopsy for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
Safety System – This system continuously monitors the lab for proper air and incubator temperatures and gas levels as well as the liquid nitrogen level of frozen embryos and semen samples. If there is a power outage, our diesel generator automatically starts and can run for several days without refueling.
California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. uses its modern embryology lab to increase the effectiveness of fertility treatment and patient pregnancy rates. If you have any questions regarding the embryology lab and its affect on the cost of treatment, please ask. We remain committed to helping patients realize the joy and miracle pregnancy can bring.
--> © California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. Male and female infertility specialists near Sacramento.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Northern California Fertility Doctor Joins Genetic Testing Clinical Study to Help Roseville and Sacramento IVF Infertility Patients Get Pregnant
Until now, IVF patients have had to choose between testing for chromosome abnormalities like Down Syndrome or single-gene hereditary disorders like Tay Sachs. A new screening from Redwood City, Calif. based Gene Security Network combines single gene hereditary disease testing and a 24-chromosome comparison into one test.
Dr. Ernest Zeringue, founder of California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. says “this test will offer at risk couples an additional tool for increasing their chance of pregnancy while minimizing the risk of having a baby with a genetic disorder.”
While new technology can not completely relieve the worries of getting pregnant, this next step in the genetic testing of embryos will help at risk patients make more informed decisions about their best options for bringing home a healthy baby.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The Infertility Support Group of the Sacramento area is one resource for all Northern California women struggling with infertility to turn to so they do not have to struggle with getting pregnant alone.
The Infertility Support Group of the Sacramento area is a peer led support group for women that provides a place to discuss the emotional impact of infertility. Women are provided a welcoming space to discuss treatments for infertility like IVF and artificial insemination as well as alternatives like using acupuncture to help with stress and increase ovulation. Recommendations and experiences with Sacramento area infertility doctors and clinics many also be discussed openly and honestly.
Women with fertility issues may want to contact the Sacramento Area Infertility Support Group if any of the following statements apply:
- I'm feeling lonely and isolated because of my infertility.
- I have very few people to talk with about my infertility.
- No one understands how infertility is affecting me.
- My husband is the only one I have who provides emotional support in dealing with infertility.
- Infertility is affecting my work and career.
- I feel that my life plan is out of control because of infertility.
- I'm having trouble navigating my medical treatment options for infertility.
- I can't decide when "enough is enough" of infertility treatments like IVF, IUI and fertility medications like Clomid.
- Holidays and coping with family and friends is becoming more & more difficult the longer I deal with infertility and answer questions about why I am not getting pregnant or having a baby.
For more information about the Sacramento Area Infertility Support Group, email your questions or comments to Christine at email@example.com
Bimonthly Meetings take place on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month in the Sacramento area.California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. - Male and female infertility specialists serving the Sacramento, Roseville and the greater Northern California area including the San Francisco Bay Area.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis of Embyros Provide "Gene Security" to Sacramento Area IVF Patients
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. is pleased to open a new blog site. Check back here regularly so you can keep updated on the latest news and announcements. We have several new announcements coming! If you are an infertility patient, doctor, or someone interested in fertility treatments, please bookmark or subscribe to our blog.
A Little Background
California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc. was opened in November of 2004, by Dr. Ernest Zeringue. Dr Zeringue came to Northern California in the summer of 2001 to serve as the Division Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Travis Air Force Base. While there, Dr. Zeringue was responsible for training OB/GYN residents and running a very busy infertility clinic. As one of 4 clinics with a reproductive endocrinologist in the Air Force, the fertility program at Travis was a referral center for one fourth of the U.S. Many of the patients followed Dr. Zeringue to Davis for the opening of California IVF. Dr. Zeringue continues to see many military patients, some from out of state, as a result of the high patient satisfaction and references.
Since opening in 2004, California IVF has continued to grow. Our patient satisfaction remains very high. Everyone in the clinic is dedicated to providing a warm family-like atmosphere to our patients. Infertility treatments can be very stressful and we want to make the process of getting help as hassle free as possible. An efficient and streamlined approach to patient care helps avoid excessive delays and remove much of the confusion surrounding advanced treatments. We offer extended educational sessions to make sure patients understand every aspect of their care.
While patient satisfaction is a top priority, we must also strive to provide the best possible pregnancy rates. The laboratory at California IVF was designed with a singe purpose. Provide one of the best possible environments for embryo development. Our embryology lab features a purpose-built air system that meets clean room standards. A recent evaluation of our air quality demonstrated our air system was not only functioning as desired, but was performing better now than during previous assessments. Complementing this high quality air system is a full array of modern laboratory equipment. While expensive, high quality equipment is vital to a good embryology lab.
A good air system and high quality equipment must be operated by experienced and capable embryology staff. California IVF is very fortunate to have Deborah Johnson and Lisa Miller working together. Deborah and Lisa worked together at Northern California Fertility Medical Center in Roseville during that program’s peak growth. Deborah and Lisa brought their expertise and success with them to California IVF and continue to work their magic. Dr. Laurie Lovely joined the team in the Fall of 2008, and has created quite a following of patients with her friendly and compassionate approach to taking care of patients. There is no question that the patient comes first with Dr. Lovely. She loves what she does and it shows.
If you would like to take a look at some of our results, check out the photo gallery at our media site BabiesInDavis.com
-- California IVF: Davis Fertility Center, Inc Male and female infertility specialists near Sacramento.