Having a baby is one of the greatest joys of any person’s life. Sadly, fertility problems, deteriorating environmental factors, age, and a host of other issues often come in the way of one’s dream of parenthood. But there’s no need to despair. Fertility research has seen some major advances in recent years and there a number of cutting-edge treatments that can help you get pregnant in spite of your fertility challenges.
Here are 7 technological breakthroughs that are making miracles happen in the field of fertility treatment.
- Embryo Adoption
Now, women who don’t have healthy eggs or are struggling with embryos of poor quality have an alternative option-embryo adoption. Many couples who have undergone successful IVF treatments are agreeing to donate the healthy frozen embryos that are left over. These can be implanted successfully to develop into healthy fetuses.
- Sperm Enhancement
For men who produce insufficient or no sperm or for men with poor quality sperm, sperm enhancement technology can show positive results. Stem cell research can be put to use to boost sperm production. In recent research, scientists have grown sperm in a lab from the stem cells of baby mice.
- Genetic Screening
Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) can be used to check eggs of elder women for abnormal chromosomes to eliminate the risk of complications, genetic disorders, or other conditions. Some research suggests that screening embryos in this way can actually boost birth rates. This technology is being worked upon and will improve even further in the coming years.
- In-vitro Maturation
At times, women with fertility issues are unable to produce eggs that mature properly. Since IVF involves the extraction of matured eggs, such women struggle with treatment. IVM allows eggs to be collected in their immature stage instead, prior to being matured with hormonal injections, so that they can be matured in the laboratory (in vitro). The matured eggs are then fertilized manually, using the procedure of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
- Three-Parent IVF
A new and controversial fertility procedure has been approved by the United Kingdom government to be performed on women with mitochondrial diseases who don’t want their children to inherit their disease. It involves the removal of defective mitochondria from a mother’s egg, followed by replacement with healthy donor mitochondria. This leads to the creation of a single, healthy egg that possesses healthy mitochondria from a donor and DNA from the mother.
Augment is another similar revolutionary technique which is still in an experimental phase. Since mitochondria degrade with time, aged women may produce eggs with damaged mitochondria. Augment intends to help women without mitochondrial diseases whose mitochondria have just degraded with age. It involves reenergizing the egg cells with some extra mitochondria from the woman’s own cells. This procedure has been developed by the biotech company OvaScience but not yet approved by the FDA in the United States. If this procedure yields satisfactory results, it can prove to be a boon for older infertile women.
AneVivo is also a new procedure which involves a more natural form of IVF. AneVivo allows the fertilization of the egg to occur inside the mother’s womb instead of in a laboratory test tube. It is executed with the aid of a device called the AneVivo, which is a porous capsule that enables in-vivo development to occur in the mother’s natural physiological environment. Anevivo has already met success following its commercialization, with the birth of the first six babies in 2017 at a Polish fertility clinic.
Fertility treatment options and research are opening up new possibilities, producing unbelievable results, and giving hope to thousands of couples struggling with infertility. There are many kinds of treatments and procedures that you can now avail to enjoy the pleasures of parenthood.