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!
Some clinics have cut-off age for accepting patients into their IVF program. While the age may vary from one IVF program to the other, most European clinics will have an age limit between 43 and 47. There are two main reasons for having a cut-off age.
1- Each woman is born with a certain set of ovarian reserves and starting with puberty, hundreds of potential oocytes are lost during a menstrual cycle. The reserves keep declining as the age of the woman advances and eventually the reserve finishes once the woman reaches menopause. The ovarian function tends to fall below 20-25% of its starting numbers at the age of 35, and beyond the age of 40, chances of pregnancy with own eggs become very slim. Having a cut-off age for IVF treatment where the patient uses her own eggs avoids a very high risk of a negative treatment outcome and disappointment.
2- Having a cut-off age means not admitting patients who are not likely to succeed, which means the fertility clinic can keep its success rates high.
Whether we agree with this or not is not the main point. The main point is, should there be a cut-off age for trying with your own eggs? The answer is not so simple. Patients may not be willing to give up on their eggs just yet regardless of what the statistics might be saying. If there is a 1% chance, it means 1 in every 100 women will achieve success with treatment. While unfortunately 99 others won't be so lucky.
When it comes to using your own eggs, our clinic does not subscribe into age limitations. However, we make sure that you are well-informed about likely outcomes so that you can make your decision accordingly. For maximizing success wheh using your own eggs beyond a certain age, we have additional methods such as "Cytoplasmic IVF Treatment" that can potentially add a few percentages to your success statistics.
While we do not have an advertised age limit, we do not recommend IVF treatment using own eggs after the age of 47, which is the age of the oldest reported IVF pregnancy worldwide.
For more information on our recommendations for patients over 50 years of age, using donor eggs, please see our "IVF over 50" section.
Improvements in IVF technologies enable us to incorporate the use of additional techniques and procedures into our daily IVF practice. One such innovation in fertility treatments is Cytoplasmic IVF Treatment, sometimes referred to as the "Three parent Family". While the "Three parent family" has an interesting ring to it, it is more of a catchy phrase rather than being a fully correct statement.
Cytoplasmic IVF Treatment at North Cyprus IVF Centre has been offered since 2012. While it has been almost three years since we have brought this concept into practice, it is important to mention that this treatment is still in its infancy years and the number of cases performed are still far from creating accurate and statistically significant numbers. However, data so far suggests that cytoplasmic transfer is able to increase success rates by 4 to 5 percent compared to standard IVF/ICSI treatments.
What is Cytoplasmic IVF Treatment?
Cytoplasmic IVF Treatment is the treatment option suited for two types of patients:
- Patients with known mitochondria defects
- Patients in older age brackets with likely mitochondria defects due to oocyte aging.
As women age, so do their eggs. Just like any cell, the egg cells is consisted of a nucleus, which contains the genetic material as well as a cytoplasm, which surrounds the nucleus. Within the cytoplasm, there are many other organelles. One of the most important organelles in the the cell is mitochondrion (plural, mitochondria). Mitochondria are responsible for providing the cell with its energy, which facilitates cellular growth and development. As the oocyte (egg cell) ages, so do the mitochondria found within the egg cell. As the mitochondria age, they fail to provide sufficient amount of energy for growth and development, therefore, the egg cells start to lose their viability. This is precisely where cytoplasmic IVF treatment gets in the picture.
With cytoplasmic IVF treatment, a young, healthy and pregnancy proven egg donor is used, very much like an egg donation program. However, it is not the eggs, or the genetic material inside her eggs that we are interested in. Rather, we are interested in the cyoplasm of the donor's eggs. In cytoplasmic IVF treatment, we extract the cytoplasm of the donor's eggs and inject it into the eggs of the recipient. That way, we can provide a healthier cytoplasm (therefore mitochondria) for the growth and development of the recipient's eggs. In a way, we make the recipient's eggs' host environment more friendly for growth. This provides us with a higher chance of IVF success when the own eggs of a patient is used in more advanced age brackets.
However, it should be known that this treatment also has its limits. This is a treatment option which provides a healthier host for the growth and development of your own genetic material. This is not a method that can correct and genetic problems with your eggs that may come with age. If the main reason why you are not able to fall pregnant or experience miscarriages is due to genetic problems associated with oocyte aging, then cytoplasmic IVF treatment is not likely to generate desired results and in such cases, IVF with egg donation should be considered.
IVF with cytoplasmic transfer is mostly recommended for patients with known mitochondrial DNA defects, or patients in more advanced age brackets who still have some ovarian activity, but standard IVF treatments fail to succeed even though the patient has viable oocytes during treatment.
Please check out our "Cytoplasmic IVF Treatment" page for more information.
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.