Breaking Ground: The Latest Innovations in Infertility Research

Lab technician conducting infertility research

Lab technician conducting infertility research

Advances in Infertility Research

The first successful in vitro fertilization took place in 1977, and since then, technology has improved dramatically, leading to a wealth of cutting-edge infertility solutions. This is wonderful news for the millions of Americans affected by infertility struggles, which impact about 12 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44. While there is no easy fix for male or female infertility, advanced reproductive technologies are available to help improve couples’ chances. Here, we look at some of these advances in the field, and how they can help patients achieve pregnancy.

What is Involved in Infertility?

There are many factors that influence fertility, including age. About a third of people over age 35 struggle with infertility, and the risk of miscarriage increases with age. Lifestyle factors also play a role, and smoking, excessive alcohol, a poor diet, too much or too little exercise, and weight issues can all contribute to difficulty conceiving. Infertility can be caused by ovulation difficulties, uterine issues, blocked fallopian tubes, fibroids, low sperm count, low sperm quality, and other male factors. Male factors account for as much as 40 percent of fertility issues. There is no cure for infertility, but doctors can treat underlying problems and develop strategies to help overcome these problems, in order to help couples achieve pregnancy.

Innovative Fertility Treatments

Sometimes, pregnancy can be achieved through intrauterine insemination, a relatively simple fertility treatment in which sperm are inserted into the uterus, in conjunction with medication. Other infertility treatments may seem almost like science fiction.

  • In vitro fertilization has become even more innovative. There have been many improvements to in vitro fertilization over the years. One such improvement is the development of ISCI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), one of the more revolutionary IVF techniques which allows an embryologist to inject a single, healthy sperm into the egg, instead of just exposing the egg to sperm. With healthy eggs, this method can be a much as 99 percent effective. Additionally, pre-implantation genetic screening and studies to determine if the embryo will be received by the endometrium can improve the chances of successful pregnancy.
  • Letrozole is not used for infertility treatments. Used for breast cancer treatment in post-menopausal women, Letrozole inhibits estrogen production, affecting how the pituitary and hypothalamus function as relates to ovulation. This medication can help women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to conceive. If the pituitary gland is not functioning properly, it can cause the ovaries to stop releasing eggs or to release eggs that are not fully developed, and Letrozole addresses this issue.
  • Gonadotropins are used to help women ovulate. These work with the pituitary gland, adjusting when ovulation occurs, to make sure the ovum is mature before it is released. Sometimes, Letrozole and gonadotropins are used together during in vitro fertilization.
  • Clomid is another medication used to treat infertility. This also works with the pituitary gland, inducing ovulation in women who don’t develop an egg and improving the way ovaries respond to FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This results in improved rates of live births.
  • There are also groundbreaking vasectomy reversal procedures. While vasectomy reversal used to be minimally successful, the success rates are now as high as 80 to 90 percent, because of innovations in the surgical procedures. Now performed by microsurgeons, vasectomy reversals are more precise than ever before.

What Does the Future Hold?

As science continues to find more innovative ways to help people conceive, and research and development of infertility treatments continues to be one of the most rapidly developing parts of the health care industry, we can expect to see exciting developments going forward. As IVF improves and we gain further control, we will see fewer multiple births, and there will be more options for donor and surrogate reproductive options. Stem cell research continues to evolve, and there could be a time, perhaps even in our lifetime, when pluripotent cells can be developed from bone marrow or skin cells. As the science improves and research continues to find new innovative approaches to the problem, we may well reach a point at which infertility is a thing of the past, and couples who wish to conceive can do so without the difficulty and heartbreak so many experience today. By working with experienced doctors who are experienced in treating infertility, many couples are finding their way to overcoming fertility, even now.

Center for Vasectomy Reversal Cares About Men’s Health

At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we stay up to date with the latest innovations in fertility treatment and work to create strategies that help our patients achieve healthy, successful pregnancies. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their health and fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Dr. Green and his team provide state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. Having had extensive training in urology, microsurgery, and vasectomy reversal, Dr. Green founded the Center for Vasectomy Reversal to provide the highest level of patient care while delivering optimal surgical results. To learn more about how our experienced team can help you reach your reproductive goals, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.