by Marty Metzger
North Forty News
Nature doesn’t always cooperate in the reproductive process. But when a child is someone’s deepest desire, scientific advancements are now available to bring that heartfelt dream to life.
The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) is one of the most widely respected physician groups that can provide hope. Robert Gustofson, M.D., explained some current treatment techniques presently paving the way in the field of reproduction.
Comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS) is a modern in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology pioneered at CCRM that has been adopted by fertility clinics worldwide, said Dr. Gustofson. Studies have found that the majority of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities. With CCS, CCRM can actually count the number of chromosomes in five- or six-day-old embryos; only the ones with the correct number of chromosomes are transferred into the woman’s uterus or are stored until she is ready.
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This technique significantly improves success rates while reducing miscarriage rates. Dr. Gustofson added this also helps to prevent a pregnancy affected with a chromosomal abnormality, like Down Syndrome, that can lead to birth defects in children.
Egg freezing is an exciting, effective way for women to preserve their fertility by stopping the ticking biological clock. Eggs can be frozen and kept in storage until a woman is ready to have her own biological children, rather than pursuing a pregnancy for which she might not be quite prepared. This method yields very high pregnancy rates for women electively freezing their eggs, or due to a medical condition such as cancer.
Another state-of-the-art technology CCRM uses is preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). With this technology, couples who are carriers of specific genetic mutations (such as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, which can cause certain breast and ovarian cancers) can have their embryos screened before implantation, thereby preventing a child from having a potentially devastating illness or disease.
CCRM launched a new Hereditary Cancer and Disease Prevention Lab this summer at their Lone Tree location. This is the only Colorado fertility center, and one of the few in the entire country, to offer in-house PGD and CCS testing, noted Dr. Gustofson.
Regardless of cutting-edge technologies, there comes a time when a woman realizes she might never conceive. When is it time to give up? The decision to stop fertility treatment is a deeply personal one. Dr. Gustofson recommends a patient have a conversation with her doctor to assess medical risks and benefits of continuing or stopping treatments. He advised that it might also be helpful to set financial and time limits in advance.
CCRM, for example, is currently offering a 15% discount on a fresh or frozen IVF cycle to first-time IVF patients, if you:
- Are a Colorado resident or reside within 250 miles of CCRM’s Lone Tree facility
- Never completed IVF at CCRM or elsewhere
- Are self-pay (not submitting insurance)
- Start treatment after July 1, 2018
A frozen IVF cycle (including ISCI) is $16,398
A fresh IVF cycle (including ISCI) is $18,544
Intrauterine insemination (IUI): between $1,500-$3,000 (does not include diagnostic testing and medications)
Egg freezing cycle: $11,016
Note: Costs do not include medications
There are some general rules of thumb for those seeking fertility treatment. A woman under age 35 who’s been attempting to get pregnant for one year, or one 35+ who’s been unsuccessfully trying for six months, should consider consulting a specialist.
Additionally, some conditions might prompt potential parents to do so sooner than the recommended 6- to 12-month time frame: a woman has had irregular or painful periods; one with a history of abdominal or pelvic surgery, miscarriage or cancer; a man with a history of low sperm count, poor motility (sperm that doesn’t swim or move quickly) or morphology (sperm cells are irregularly shaped).
Setting aside generalities, Dr. Gustofson said that anyone wanting to assess their fertility and egg quality, or someone feeling anxious about becoming pregnant, should feel free to consult an OB-GYN or fertility specialist.
Time is of the essence when it comes to fertility. CCRM does everything possible to schedule new patient appointments as efficiently and quickly as possible.