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Archive for the ‘Single Embryo Transfers’ tag

The Dilemma of Excess Embryos

By Tracey Minella

January 25th, 2014 at 9:32 am

credit: wiki commons public domain

 

There is so much to focus on when beginning IVF. Insurance and financing issues. Learning about all the medications, as well as how to inject many of them. Understanding the processes of daily monitoring and blood work, of retrievals and transfers. Deciding how many embryos to transfer back and whether to cryopreserve the others.

Most people do cryopreserve the embryos which are not transferred back on a fresh IVF cycle. These frozen embryos are often thawed and used in a later cycle, either years later after a successful fresh cycle or sooner if the fresh cycle was unsuccessful.

Sometimes, especially in cases where patients only transfer back one embryo, like patients in Long Island IVF’s Single Embryo Transfer Program http://bit.ly/1jjvr3y patients may obtain enough embryos from their first fresh IVF cycle to satisfy all of their family-building needs through subsequent frozen embryo transfers. They may have one baby, then another a few years later, and then yet another…all from one retrieval. Yes, they are the lucky ones.

I remember… almost casually… signing off on the cryo consent, my primary focus being on all the matters that had an immediate effect on my first fresh cycle. I wanted to be pregnant now. I’d worry about what to do with any leftover frozen embryos… after I had all the children I wanted … later. It took a few cycles before I finally had any embryos left over to freeze, but the moment I did, I set in motion a decision more complicated and emotional than I initially imagined.

What to do with excess embryos is about as personal a decision as there is. If you don’t have too many, do you keep transferring them until they are gone? Do you donate them…full genetic siblings to your other children…to another couple? Do you donate them to research if your state allows? Do you just keep them in storage and pay the fees? Do you discard them?

I was reminded of the difficulty of this decision when I read about New Zealand’s law limiting the amount of time that embryos can remain in storage to ten years. http://bit.ly/1f7uypm . Fortunately, there is no such law in New York. It is stressful enough for patients to decide what to do with excess embryos without the government imposing an arbitrary time limit on them.

There is no single right answer. Just a right answer for you.

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If you cryopreserved embryos, are you comfortable with your initial decision on how they should be handled? Or are you undecided?

 

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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 30: The Gift of Life and Its Price

By David Kreiner MD

November 9th, 2013 at 11:56 am

 

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Thirty: The Gift of Life and Its Price. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here: http://podcast.longislandivf.com/?p=141

The Gift of Life and Its Price

 

IVF has been responsible for over 1 million babies born worldwide who otherwise without the benefit of IVF may never have been.  This gift of life comes with a steep price tag that according to a newspaper article in the New York Times in 2009 was $1 Billion per year for the cost of premature IVF babies.

 

According to the CDC reported in the same NY Times issue, thousands of premature babies would be prevented resulting in a $1.1 Billion savings if elective single embryo transfer (SET) was performed on good prognosis patients. 

 

The argument often given by a patient who wants to transfer multiple embryos is that to do SET would lessen their chances and to go for additional frozen embryo transfers is costly.

 

In fact, if one considers the combined success rate of the fresh and frozen embryo transfers that are available from a single stimulation and retrieval, the success rate is at least as high if not higher in the cases of fresh single embryo transfers. 

 

At Long Island IVF, in an effort to eliminate the financial motivation for multiple embryo transfers, we offer free cryopreservation and embryo storage for a year to our single embryo transfer patients.  In addition, we offer them three (3) frozen embryo transfers for the price of one for up to a year after their retrieval.

 

IVF offered with single embryo transfer is safer, less costly and probably the most effective fertility treatment available for good prognosis patients.                     

 

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about single embryo transfers?

Please share your thoughts about this podcast here. And ask any questions and Dr. Kreiner will answer them.

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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 17 In-Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Culture

By David Kreiner MD

July 13th, 2012 at 8:03 am

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Seventeen: In-Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Culture. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here: http://podcast.eastcoastfertility.com/?p=103 

In-Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Culture 

In-Vitro Fertilization revolutionized infertility care when Nobel prize-winning scientist, Robert G. Edwards, succeeded in achieving the first successful birth utilizing an egg retrieved in a natural cycle and fertilized in the lab.  Back then, in 1978, the procedure was rarely successful until Georgiana Seegar Jones together with her husband Howard W. Jones Jr. in Norfolk, Virginia started stimulating the woman’s ovaries with gonadotropin hormone injections achieving their first pregnancy in 1980. 

Since that time pregnancy rates have improved as a result of experience and improvements in technique with ovarian stimulation and handling of the gametes, sperm and eggs, in the lab and, in particular, with dramatically improved culture media.  Egg retrievals, performed by laparoscopy during the early years, are now performed by transvaginal aspiration under ultrasound guidance.  The embryo transfer became much less traumatic with more accurate placement when also performed utilizing ultrasound visualization. 

Until IVF became efficient, multiple embryos were transferred resulting in many high risk, high order multiple pregnancies.  Today, single embryo transfer (SET) offers a better than 50% pregnancy rate to women under 35.  Double embryo transfer leads to pregnancy in many centers 70% of the time in these women. 

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine documents that pregnancy rates for IVF are comparable to that of fertile couples and is as high as 80% after three donor egg cycles. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, IVF with single embryo transfer would save $1.1 billion annually, if used rather than insemination with fertility drugs.  Perhaps it is time for society to support safe IVF as the preferred therapy for infertile couples.  

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about IVF and Embryo Culture? 

Are you aware that Long Island IVF is giving away a free basic Micro-IVF cycle, valued at $3,900.00? Check out the contest here: http://bit.ly/LHbmQR 

Please share your thoughts about this podcast here. And ask any questions.

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East Coast Fertility Leads The Way In Providing Safer, Effective, and Affordable Fertility Treatment!

By East Coast Fertility

September 14th, 2010 at 9:21 am

With all of the negative publicity surrounding the fertility industry in the wake of “octomom” and other sensational news stories, it is no wonder public opinion has turned sour towards the doctors and clinics that perform the services. Society now questions the safety, practicality and costs of aggressive treatments that often result in multiple births. So how do infertile couples pursue a more conservative route to parenthood – one that’s safer for them and their baby, still offers high success rates, yet is affordable? Dr. David Kreiner of East Coast Fertility is using his conscience and his expertise to provide a solution. He is the first in the country to offer an In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) package using Single Embryo Transfers (SET) at one set price to patients.

In a typical IVF cycle, a doctor will transfer two, three and sometimes more embryos back into the uterus, depending on many factors, in order to achieve the highest chance of success. However, this protocol lends itself to a high risk of multiples, making risky pregnancies, long NICU stays, babies with developmental problems and handicaps, and thus extremely high healthcare costs.

With a Single Embryo Transfer, just one embryo is placed back into the woman’s uterus, nearly eliminating the chance of achieving multiples. The remaining embryos are frozen and can be transferred to the woman in future cycles.

While SET is the optimal choice for many women, the current cost structure favors transferring multiple embryos over this method. Because transferring a single embryo has a lower success rate than transferring multiple embryos, a patient may have to undergo several SET cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy. Clinics charge for each additional procedure. The patients are expected to absorb what could add up to $100 million per year in extra costs. Thus, patients and programs are pressured to transfer dangerously high numbers of embryos. The real irony lies in the fact that research has shown that universal adoption of single embryo transfers could save the healthcare system a total of $1 billion in healthcare costs. Yet, the patients who choose SET are expected to foot the bill.

That’s all changing at East Coast Fertility. Their Single Embryo Transfer Program attempts to take the financial incentive out of this push to put “all your eggs in one basket.” Dr. Kreiner and his staff are making it cost neutral to transfer only one embryo at a time by offering free cryopreservation, free embryo storage and free embryo transfers until a patient achieves a live birth, all for the cost of a single IVF cycle. ECF absorbs the extra costs in cases where successive transfers are needed. So, the patient can choose the more conservative route without having to worry about the financial implications. Dr. Kreiner believes the benefits to the patient and society are obvious, and he doesn’t feel he is sacrificing the success of his practice. “It is with confidence in our highly successful embryo cryopreservation program that we are able to limit the number of embryos transferred without decreasing the number of births that result from IVF cycles at ECF. We are willing to sacrifice some margin in those cases where patients need successive transfers.”

It remains to be seen if other clinics will follow ECF’s lead. Perhaps society should demand that fertility doctors start doing what is best for the patient even if it means having to cut into their profits on occasion. “Hopefully talking about these issues will highlight some of the negative incentives that exist in the world of Reproductive Endocrinology, and bring about change in the industry,” says Pamela Madsen, fertility blogger (www.thefertilityadvocate.com) and founder of The American Fertility Association. She continues, “It is refreshing to see Dr. Kreiner as an ethical standout in the fertility world – a patient activist who is not letting greed get in the way of practicing good medicine.”

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