If you’ve tuned into any wellness-focused web site, podcast, or social media platform lately, you’ve in all probability seen that fertility has nabbed a distinguished spot within the convo. In relation to replica, persons are charting paths for themselves and rejecting the thought of a single path to parenthood (and we’re right here for it).
Working example: Over 8 million infants have been born on account of in vitro fertilization within the 40 years because the expertise has been out there, and analysis means that a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of individuals will owe their lives to assisted fertility therapies by 2100.
For those who’re contemplating becoming a member of the ranks of potential mother and father who’ve undergone IVF, there are some things Cynthia Hudson, embryologist and vice chairman of scientific technique and specimen companies at TMRW Life Sciences, thinks everybody ought to know.
Her first level? Egg freezing is a chance to protect the choice of parenthood later in life. So you do not even must be optimistic you need to have youngsters to undergo the method, nevertheless it additionally is not a call to be taken flippantly, she says. That will help you take advantage of knowledgeable decisions doable, Hudson shared a number of key issues she suggests asking your medical doctors—and your self.
Preserve scrolling to study what an embryologist desires you to contemplate earlier than egg freezing.
1. What are your plans and priorities?
Hudson acknowledges that egg freezing is trending proper now—however that is not essentially a motive to pursue it. She desires anybody contemplating it to keep in mind that it’s a giant determination that comes with emotional, bodily, and monetary investments.
Asking your self a number of questions—resembling, when do you need to be pregnant? What number of youngsters would you like? What number of egg-freezing cycles are you prepared to undergo? How lengthy will your eggs should be frozen, and the way will they be saved till you want them?—may help make clear future plans and priorities, Hudson says.
“I’d like to get to a spot the place we will assure that freezing your eggs will end result within the reproductive outcomes you’ve deliberate and hoped for, however we’re not there but,” Hudson says. That’s why she’s so captivated with educating sufferers and, with TMRW’s assist, making the method extra clear, accessible, and protected—it doesn’t matter what chapter of your fertility journey you’re in.
2. What’s the clinic’s success charge?
As soon as you have determined you need to begin the egg-freezing course of, you’ll want a fertility clinic, and you will need to examine its success stats. Two questions are key, Hudson says: What’s the survival charge for eggs after freezing and thawing? And what’s the speed of viable being pregnant after the embryos have been transferred?
The survival charge is vital as a result of it speaks to the clinic’s potential to freeze, retailer, and deal with eggs. However, in Hudson’s eyes, the final word measure of the lab’s well being and success is the speed of being pregnant.
Professional tip: You possibly can peruse the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s web site—or give the group a name—to get a few of this info. The Fertility Success Act, handed in 1992, requires clinics to report on all sufferers and people sufferers’ subsequent reproductive outcomes, Hudson says. (In case your clinic hasn’t submitted information to the CDC, that could be a great indication to go for one other supplier.)
3. How will your eggs be saved and tracked?
After you have completed some analysis on success charges, you may need to get some intel on egg storage. Give the clinic a name and ask for particulars on the method.
Traditionally, most labs have saved frozen eggs and embryos in tanks, often called dewars, at ultra-cold temperatures. The method requires clinicians to manually fill the tanks with liquid nitrogen with a view to preserve that viable temp. Whereas the system labored nicely for some time, it is labor-intensive and susceptible to human error. And, the demand for fertility remedy has outgrown the method, as a result of IVF clinics weren’t set as much as be long-term storage banks.
So how does TMRW do it? By automating the monitoring and tracing of eggs, that are saved utilizing expertise that is geared up with sensors and touch-screen software program, which guarantee constant cryogenic temperatures. That signifies that clinicians by no means must manually examine the thermostat or fill the tanks with liquid nitrogen—the expertise confirms all of it for them, serving to to scale back errors, streamline the method, and stop disasters on account of unintended thawing.
4. Whereas they’re frozen, how will your eggs be monitored?
Many clinics have decades-old techniques for monitoring eggs—i.e. relying closely on analog strategies like hand-written notecards and vial labels, which might introduce human error (yep, once more) right into a course of you very a lot do not need to mess up.
As an embryologist, Hudson spent years witnessing the issues these outdated strategies could cause, which is why she left the lab and joined TMRW to design expertise that gives transparency and security in laboratory operations.
TMRW automates the distinctive identification, monitoring, and tracing of eggs (through the use of knowledge encryption, a 24/7 monitoring system, distinctive RFID tags and barcodes as an alternative of hand-written labels, and extra) with a view to scale back errors and improve effectivity. “We’re managing tens of 1000’s of affected person specimens, whether or not they’re within the clinic or our new off-site cryobank,” she says. “There’s nothing extra vital to this firm than the protection of these specimens.”
There’s even an app within the works that can give sufferers the choice to examine in on their eggs—as an alternative of the extra commonplace course of of getting to name their clinic for particulars. “We predict the sufferers need to have direct entry to that type of info,” Hudson says. “Offering groundbreaking ranges of visibility to the sufferers is one thing TMRW is 100% dedicated to.”
“Modernizing and reworking IVF is the one manner we will scale this business to satisfy the rising calls for and enhance entry to care,” she says. “This type of care—for folks searching for parenthood, or just simply attempting to protect the choice to take action—is out of attain for most individuals, both due to monetary, geographic, or different causes, and we’re right here to vary that.”