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Can I choose the sex of my embryos when I undergo embryo transfer?

The human genome consists of 46 chromosomes: 23 of these are inherited from our father and the other 23 are inherited from our mother. Our organism’s entire genetic make-up is stored in these chromosomes. The 23 pairs are organised as follows: 22 pairs, known as autosomes, and one pair of sex chromosomes (X and Y) which differentiate the two sexes (XY for males and XX for females).
From a technical point of view, using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, we have the means of analysing an embryo’s entire chromosomal make-up. This technique, which is known as CCS (Comprehensive Chromosome Screening), means additional or a lack of any chromosomes in the embryo can be detected. Therefore, we can use CCS to analyse the entire make-up of the embryo and determine that there are neither DNA excesses nor deficiencies which will stop the embryo from developing properly. But, if we focus on the sex chromosomes, we can also determine if the analysed embryo has two X chromosomes and will, therefore, be a girl (XX) or one X chromosome and one Y chromosome (XY) and will be a boy. […]

What is the significance of FSH hormone levels in fertility?

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is essential to reproduction. It is produced by the pituitary gland situated just below the brain (behind the palate) and is released into the bloodstream. The hormone regulates the ovaries and is involved in the processes dealing with the growth and selection of the follicle which will later release the egg during ovulation.
Fluctuations in FSH levels are responsible for menstrual cycles and also for the fact that only one egg is produced during each cycle. It is essential, therefore, that there is constant dialogue between the ovaries and the pituitary gland so that the latter can consistently produce the correct quantity of FSH for a normal cycle.
This permanent exchange means that, in cases of poor ovarian function, the pituitary gland will try to compensate for this situation by increasing FSH excretion levels. It is for this reason that FSH levels in women going through the menopause are 20 times greater than in women whose ovaries are functioning normally. Therefore, when the ovary does not respond correctly, FSH increases significantly and systematically. […]

Reduced mobility and fertility

Reproduction issues always need to be dealt with with a degree of sensitivity. When there is also a disability within the couple, the emotional side of things calls for even greater care and steps should be taken in order to deal adequately with any implications the disability in question has from a medical point of view.
In 2006, the United Nations (UN) published guidelines on the rights of people with reduced mobility. These guidelines indicate disabled people’s rights across all levels of society and include the right to have children and access to sexual health.
At Instituto Bernabeu, we aim to comply with the aforementioned guidelines and provide our patients with the means and solutions they need and which adapt to the circumstances of each physical disability. This covers disabilities resulting from a genetic condition (hereditary), disease or an accident and, from a fertility point of view, each case is given personalised treatment. […]

Beta hCG (β-hCG) result table

ACCESS INFORMATION PRIOR TO THIS POST ON BETA
β-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a glycoprotein that is initially secreted by trophoblast cells in the embryo shortly after it implants in the uterus. The rapid increase in serum levels of hCG following conception means it is an excellent early indicator of pregnancy. It’s also a parameter which is widely used for monitoring that a pregnancy is progressing correctly.
On a physiological level, hCG triggers the corpus luteum and thus facilitates progesterone and oestrogen synthesis. Progesterone stimulates the maturing of blood and capillary vessels that help the foetus to develop correctly.
hCG levels can be measured in blood or in urine.
Urine tests have a detection limit of 20 to 100 mUI/ml depending on the brand. If the measurement is to be taken in urine, a sample of the first urine of the day is recommended. This is particularly true during the early days of pregnancy because, if the urine is too diluted, the test can return incorrect negative results.
hCG levels in blood can be used to detect levels as low as 5 mUI/ml and the concentration levels of the hormone can therefore be calculated.
hCG levels in multiple pregnancies are 30-50 % higher than in pregnancies where there is only one foetus. However, a multiple pregnancy should be confirmed by means of an ultrasound.
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Ovarian stimulation: What is it? Are there any risks involved?

During the first few days of a period, a complex process takes place in the ovaries. The first step is to gather and initiate development in several follicles that contain eggs. Following this, only one egg is selected and it then develops. A mature egg is released during ovulation.
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Embryo transfer on day 3 or day 5. The pros and cons.

Determining the ideal day for embryo transfer has always been a controversial issue and there are, even today, still a number of doubts surrounding this issue.
Embryo culture is, basically, a selection process. Each embryo’s progress is evaluated throughout and a decision is taken on which is most likely to implant successfully. […]

Recurrent pregnancy loss: an issue that does have a solution

Clearly one of the most difficult situations a couple trying for children may have to face is pregnancy loss. Suffering is even greater when, prior to this, the couple has gone through fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilisation, insemination or egg donation.
Pregnancy loss is not always the result of an illness or underlying abnormality. It can be the response nature provides in order to block the development of an abnormal embryo. In fact, when the tissue from the pregnancy loss is examined, a large number of chromosomal abnormalities can be detected. […]

Recommendations following embryo transfer

Transfer is undoubtedly one of the most important steps in assisted reproduction treatment.
When the patient steps out of the transfer room, a new beginning takes place and the experience will be totally different to what she has undergone up until that point. The embryos have now been transferred and the countdown to the pregnancy test has begun.
It’s important that patients understand that when they go to the toilet to urinate following embryo transfer, the embryos do not ‘fall out’ nor do they get lost since they are situated inside the uterus, a part of the body which is quite different to the one we use for urinating. […]

What does embryo biopsy involve?

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a tool designed to “get to know” the embryos genetically before they are transferred into the mother’s uterus. Thanks to this technique, we can study their chromosome count and find out if they are carriers of a hereditary disease. This information helps us to select the embryos that will produce healthy babies. Yet, how can we find that information?
Today, the only way to find genetic information about embryos is by performing an embryo biopsy. What does embryo biopsy involve?
To explain the biopsy procedure we should keep in mind that our point of departure is EMBRYOS. Embryos are retrieved after performing an assisted reproduction cycle, preferably by Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and their development is assessed during the culture period until day 3 or day 5. […]

Usefulness of the Karyotype

The karyotype is the number of chromosomes in metaphase that we have. Chromosome count and therefore karyotype are characteristic to each species. Human beings have 46 chromosomes (23 pairs) in the nucleus of each cell in their body. These 23 pairs are organised into 22 pairs termed autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes (X and Y) that differentiates both sexes (men XY and women XX). […]