We frequently receive requests from women who would like to plan a pregnancy because their ovarian reserves have declined and they are afraid waiting will further impair their chances of parenting their own biological children if pregnancy is further delayed. As North Cyprus IVF Clinic, we wanted to write this blog post and let you know that if you are a single woman who is not ready to have a child just yet, you do have a number of options and we are ready to assist you with these options.
1- Getting pregnant using donor sperm- You could undergo an IVF treatment using donor sperm and plan a pregnancy accordingly. However, this would be a rushed decision. With today's technological advancements in assisted reproduction, we are able to preserve your fertility for a future date in a number of ways. Therefore, we would not recommend rushing to get pregnant only because your biological clock is ticking. You should be a mother when you are ready.
2- Freezing embryos using donor sperm- In this option, you would prepare very much like in an IVF cycle, we would collect the eggs, use donor sperm to fertilize your eggs and create embryos. Instead of transferring these embryos into the uterus for an immediate pregnancy, we would freeze them so that your embryos would be ready for transfer at a future date. This is a good option considering that freezing embryos gives you a higher chance of success compared to freezing eggs when the egg quality is not optimal. An egg is just a single cell, so it is more likely to be affected by the freeze/thaw procedures. However, an embryo is incubated into a certain stage of development before it is frozen so that it has a higher number of cells and a higher success with the freeze/thaw process.
3- Freezing eggs as eggs without using any sperm- This is the best method for a young woman who is not yet ready to start a family. It helps preserve your fertility, allowing you to have your own biological children in the future. This option is also good in the sense that there is no sperm donor involvement, therefore, if you do meet someone in the future who would be a good candidate to co-parent, then you can use his sperm instead of a donor, or you can still use a donor but it would give you more options when the time comes. However, if your ovarian reserves have declined, then it is likely that egg quality has also started going down. When the egg quality is poor, eggs are less likely to survive the freeze/thaw procedures. Therefore, if you are freezing eggs, it will make sense to freeze a certain number of eggs so that you can have multiple attempts at IVF treatment with them in the future. Our recommendation would be undergoing a couple of cycles of ovarian stimulation so that we can get a certain number of eggs on each attempt and freeze as many eggs as we can so that we can offer you a good chance of success in the future considering that some of the eggs will not survive the freeze/thaw process when their quality is not optimal.
We just wanted you to know that you have options and we are here to assist with these options...
We all know that ovarian function and the level of fertility decline with age and we might just need that extra help to conceive as we age. While standard IVF/ICSI treatments can be a solution for some, some other patients may need to explore added benefits of technology and innovation as well as "outside the box" treatments to achieve pregnancy.
At North Cyprus IVF Clinic, we have been offering "outside the box" treatment options for our patients when offering assisted reproductive treatments. Our new treatment option "Cytoplasmic Tandem IVF" is one such treatment option for patients with lowered ovarian reserves and poor egg quality. Cytoplasmic Tandem IVF combines the benefits of a "Tandem IVF Cycle" with "Cytoplasmic IVF Transfer" to give you the best of two worlds!
A Tandem IVF cycle means using your own eggs as well as donor eggs in a single IVF treatment cycle. This allows women to have a chance of pregnancy using their own eggs by also having donor eggs as their back-up plan should their own eggs do not provide good quality embryos, sufficient for an embryo transfer.
A Cytoplasmic IVF transfer also uses an egg donor and own eggs in a single cycle. But with cytoplasmic IVF, it is not the eggs of the egg donor that we are interested in but rather the cytoplasmic content of the eggs. We retrieve the cytoplasmic content of the egg donor's eggs and inject it into the eggs of the patient, thus, providing our patient's eggs with a better host environment for cellular growth and development and giving them a higher chance of success with their own eggs.
By combining the two treatments, we not only improve your chances of IVF success using your own eggs, but we also allow you to fertilize the rest of the donor eggs (the ones that are not used for their cytoplasm) with your partner's sperm sample. The embryos created by donor eggs can be frozen and preserved for a future date in case your treatment cycle fails and you decide to use donor eggs in the future. This way, you can have an IVF treatment where your personal success likelihood is maximized using your own eggs and where you are also given a back-up plan with donor eggs in a future IVF cycle should things don't work out as planned - All for a single cost of treatment!
Please contact us for more information!
Challenges faced by 40+ women when trying to get pregnant are twofold:
1- Every woman is born with a finite set of ovarian reserves. Starting with puberty, these reserves start to decline every month with the menstrual cycle. Around the age of 37, the number of follicles (cysts which contain the eggs) drop down to less than one percent of what it was at birth. Therefore, the ovarian reserves will have declined to very low levels by the time a woman turns 40 years of age.
2- Just like any other cell in our bodies, egg cells also age. The aging oocyte (egg) is associated with several problems including mitochondrial dysfunctions, aneuploidy and epigenetic changes. Mitochondria is the power source of any cell. Any dysfunction in mitochondria is going to affect cellular energy and development. Aneuploidy refers to chromosomal problems, which is the main factor explainign why women in older age brackets are more likely to have miscarriages or deliver babies with chromosomal abnormalities such as down's syndrome (Also see our Cytoplasmic Transfer page for more information on how we can use donor cytoplasm in order to improve IVF success in older age brackets).
In summary, both the quality and the quantity of eggs decline to very low levels by the time a woman reaches 40 years of age and this affects both her ability to become pregnant and to become pregnant with a healthy baby.
One of our recommendations for patients in 40+ age bracket is embryo banking. Embryo banking refers to undergoing a number of IVF cycles with one embryo transfer scheduled at the end of the last cycle. For instance, a patient can have one IVF cycle where we collect her eggs, fertilize with the partner's sperm sample and freeze the resulting embryos. Once ther patient undergoes a second cycle, we repeat the same process and obtain more embryos. This can be repeated 2 or 3 times until a desired number of embryos have been reached.
Once the ideal number of embryos has been reached, the embryos can be incubated to the blastocyst stage and the ones that reach this stage can either be transferred into the uterus for pregnancy, or, they can be screened via pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) method in order to check the chromosomal integrity of the embryos. Once PGS has been performed, the healthy and chromosomally euploid embryos can be selected for embryo transfer.
Embryo banking allows us to increase the number of embryos available for embryo transfer. This coupled with PGS will also allow us to make sure the embryos being transferred do not have chromosomal problems.
For more information, please contact us.
Dr. Savas Ozyigit
Egg donation in Cyprus, Gender selection in Cyprus and IVF treatments in North Cyprus in general: you will find information on new advances in IVF technology and latest IVF practices. All the blogs are personally written by Dr. Savas Ozyigit and his expert medical team.