A negative beta hCG test. Now what?

What happens following the wait (‘the beta hCG wait’) which generates so much anxiety whilst, at the same time, creating the hope that our lives may be changed forever when, in the end, the result is negative?
Many patients say that the absence of symptoms meant that they knew what was coming; others were also expecting the worst because they had begun to bleed prior to getting the result of the analysis.
It’s important to point out that the presence or absence of ‘symptoms’ which women associate with pregnancy are not a means of diagnosis. It’s also important to clarify that vaginal bleeding of varying intensity is not infrequent prior to the programmed pregnancy test date and this does not necessarily mean that the result will be negative. Indeed, the results obtained from an analysis of the pregnancy hormone in blood is the only reliable proof available. A urine analysis is also an option but needs to be carried out a little later on and is not one hundred percent reliable. […]

What is a hydrosalpinx and how will it affect my fertility?

The tubes connecting the ovaries and the uterus are known as the Fallopian tubes (or uterine tubes). These structures play an essential role in natural reproduction and are responsible for receiving the egg each month and, furthermore, it is here that the union between egg and sperm takes place (fertilisation). They also enable the resulting embryo to be transported to the uterus which is where pregnancy will take place.
A hydrosalpinx is the result of an obstruction at the far ends of the Fallopian tubes which leads to the area becoming filled with liquid. This can lead to the Fallopian tubes becoming very swollen and distended, resulting in a ‘sausage-like’ appearance. In many cases, the obstruction and the liquid that has accumulated impair correct functioning of the Fallopian tube: semen does not travel up, the egg is not received by the tube and fertilisation does not take place, making achieving a natural pregnancy complicated (particularly so if both Fallopian tubes are affected). Alternatively, a hydrosalpinx can lead to pregnancy occurring within the tubes themselves (ectopic pregnancy). […]

Teratozoospermia and male infertility

Teratozoospermia is an increase in the percentage of abnormal sperm in a sperm sample and it is identified by means of a seminogram or semen analysis.
According to the criteria in the 5th edition of the World Health Organisation (WHO), 2010 manual, a man has teratozoospermia when the percentage of normal spermatozoa in the ejaculate is below 4%.
Defects in sperm […]

Progesterone and its role in reproduction

What is progesterone? Just a simple look at the word itself gives us an idea of what its functions are. PROGESTERONE: the hormone which facilitates pregnancy. This is a good point from which to start out.
Progesterone plays an essential role in pregnancy and it has many and varied effects. It is a natural substance which is secreted from the ovaries following ovulation and continues throughout the second half of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone ensures that a woman’s uterus is receptive and, when production is insufficient, the embryo does not implant correctly or runs a high risk of leading to a miscarriage. It also relaxes the muscles in the uterus, making it better suited for the early days of pregnancy. […]

Implantation failure and repeated miscarriage. Treatment options

Successfully treating implantation failure and recurrent pregnancy loss is undoubtedly a challenge for doctors and for patients.

It is an area on which we continuously focus research at Instituto Bernabeu and, whilst we are far from finding a solution to all problems, the number of couples we are able to successfully treat is forever increasing.

An approach which does not take all 3 parties into account – the female, the male and the embryo – is incomplete. When evaluation only takes the couple into account, the reason behind the issue is only determined in under 20% of all cases. […]

Oligozoospermia: What is it? How can it be detected? What course of treatment can be used in order to get pregnant? What about criptozoospermia?

Oligozoospermia is the presence of an abnormally low number of sperm in a semen sample.
According to the criteria in the 5th edition of the World Health Organisation (WHO) manual, normal sperm content in a sample of semen should be equal to or above 15 million per millimetre. If a sperm count gives a result below this figure, this is known as oligozoospermia and it may be associated with fertility issues. More than one sample will need to be evaluated in order to confirm this.
The diagnosis method consists of a spermogram which, amongst other things, gives a sperm count per millimetre of semen. […]

Helping a relative or friend with fertility issues.

Infertility can have an impact on many levels: it can affect the person with the issue as well as that person’s partner. When a couple embarks upon such a significant project as maternity and is faced with failure month after month, despite every effort, negative feelings such as anger, resistance, frustration, despair and sadness arise and they are difficult to manage. This can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. On the whole, it is an issue which patients find difficult to speak about and, as a result, they are not surrounded by a strong social or family support network.

If you know anyone who may be suffering from the emotional impact of infertility, here are 10 pieces of useful advice: […]

A more reliable means of detecting anti-Müllerian hormone and evaluating ovarian reserve

A new, much more reliable, faster technique (results are obtained in 3 days) has been incorporated into our clinic and, since it is carried out directly in our laboratories, it has brought the price down to €50. The technique is carried out on a blood sample which can be taken at our clinics or a sample can be sent to us by courier.
Determining anti-Müllerian hormone levels in a woman’s blood helps us to evaluate ovarian reserve and, along with a transvaginal ultrasound used to carry out an antral follicle count, this provides us with information about her reproductive future and whether or not trying for a child is a matter of urgency.
It can also be used in order to personalise fertility treatment and to help predict how successful it is likely to be.
Cases of couples in clinics in which the female has impaired ovarian reserve are more and more common. A reduction in ovarian reserve of this kind might be expected in older women but not so in younger women, particularly when her menstrual cycles have not been irregular. […]

A boy or a girl: can I choose my baby’s gender?

Whilst it is technically possible to choose a child’s gender using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, Spanish law prohibits selecting a baby’s sex, except with a view to avoiding the transmission of genetic diseases associated with the X chromosome. Such is the case, for example, of haemophilia A.
Law 14/2006 indicates that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis may only be used in order to detect serious genetic diseases or those which compromise the viability of an embryo. Therefore, this technique may not be used in order to select a future baby’s gender. Any other use of this technique is a serious offence which is punishable by law. […]

The endometrial receptivity array (ERA) test

Embryo implantation is the least well known phase of reproduction within the field of reproductive medicine. This fact is of special relevance if we also take into account that the human embryo is not very efficient when compared to other closely-related species in the evolution timeline.
We currently know that pregnancy is based upon three basic pillars: the embryo, the endometrium and the tolerance of the mother’s immune system. Not only is it essential that all three function correctly, but there needs to be optimum interaction between them. We have already covered the role of the embryo and the immune system in detail. Therefore, we will now concentrate on the endometrium and, more specifically, on studying endometrial receptivity. […]