In the ovary, there are structures known as follicles that contain the oocytes or ova. When a patient undergoes in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, ovarian reserve is one of the most relevant pieces of data and it is evaluated by means of an antral follicle count (follicles that are capable of responding to hormones during stimulation cycle). This information is essential in predicting the number of oocytes we will obtain following ovarian stimulation. Following an ultrasound scan and hormone level checks, the gynaecologist decides when ovulation should be triggered in the patient. […]
The spermatozoa in ejaculate need to have gone through a process known as sperm capacitation in order to obtain the ability to fertilise. This happens naturally in the female reproductive system and techniques in order to make it happen in the laboratory have been undergoing development for many years. […]
Owing to sociocultural and economic factors, there has been a considerable increase in recent years in the number of men over the age of 35 who wish to have children. As a couple ages, the probability that they will experience reproductive problems increases. The negative effect of maternal age on fertility has been widely documented and we know that fertility diminishes drastically after the age of 39. Maternal aging is also associated with miscarriage, pregnancy complications, congenital anomalies and an increase in perinatal mortality.
However, few studies analyse the effect of paternal age on success after the application of assisted reproduction technology (ART) and the results they provide are contradictory. It is true that the male reproductive function is less vulnerable than the female where the aging process is concerned, as is demonstrated by the fact that many babies have been born spontaneously to fathers who are in their seventies or eighties. However, some associations have been found in specific studies that relate a negative effect of advanced paternal age with: […]
In most laboratories, embryo transfer traditionally takes place on day 2 to 3 of culture, or during blastocyst stage, whilst embryo transfer on day 4 is an alternative that has not commonly been adopted into laboratory practice.
When compared with embryo transfer during early stages, blastocyst transfer is generally accepted as superior. This is mainly for reasons of improved synchronisation between the embryo and the endometrium and more objective embryo selection once the genome has been activated. It means that a smaller number of embryos can be transferred, thus avoiding the risk of a multiple pregnancy. […]
IMSI, or Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection, is a technique that became popular over a decade ago. It uses a very high-power microscope to examine and select the sperm that will then be introduced in the egg with the aim of increasing the possibilities of a successful implantation and reducing the probabilities of miscarriage. […]
From the very moment when sperm fertilises an ova, a new embryo starts developing and a large number of cell divisions take place. This embryo development is observed in an in vitro fertilisation laboratory up until the blastocyst stage (day 5 or 6 of development). Sometimes during the cell division process, fragments of the embryo become isolated between cells that have developed correctly. These fragments come from embryo cell remains and can stop the embryo from developing correctly. One of the negative impacts consists of issues reaching the blastocyst stage and the posterior impact on implantation in the uterus. In fact, embryo fragmentation is one of the most significant characteristics used to determine embryo quality. […]
Are sterility and infertility the same?
No, they are two completely different concepts.
Sterility is the inability to conceive whilst infertility is the inability to complete a full term pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child. […]
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a technique that provides a ‘genetic understanding’ of the embryo before it is transferred to the uterus. Thanks to this technique, we are able to study the embryo’s chromosomal make-up and determine if it is a carrier of a hereditary condition of any kind. This information helps us to select the embryos that will lead to the birth of a healthy child. But how do we obtain this information?
Work is currently being carried out to discover non-invasive means of gathering genetic information from the embryo but, to date, the only means is an embryo biopsy. What is an embryo biopsy? […]
Genetics guidance is the exchange through which an expert in genetics provides patients and their families with information and support on a genetic condition, inheriting that condition, the risk of recurrence and the implications for the individual and his or her family.
The aim of genetics guidance is to support the decision-making process whilst taking the patient’s values and beliefs into account, and to proceed based on the decision taken.
In the specific case of reproduction guidance, it is a question of guiding couples who are in a reproductive stage of their lives and who wish to have children and/or who are currently expecting a child. Therefore, we generally have two types of patients who need reproduction guidance. Whilst there are fundamental differences between the two, the aims of the guidance process remain the same and include: […]