Baby steps: Fertility findings

FRESNO, Calif.

Being a mom is what Valerie Simpson always wanted. At 37, she got pregnant, but the baby died during birth.

"The cord was wrapped around my son's neck, and I lost him," Valerie Simpson told Action News.

Valerie struggled to get pregnant again, but had a miscarriage. That's when she decided to try in-vitro fertilization. Doctor William Schoolcraft offered Valerie a new procedure known as CCS. It screens embryos for chromosome problems before they're transferred to the patient allowing doctors to implant only healthy embryos.

"We can get pregnancy rates similar to younger women when we transfer these normal embryos back," William Schoolcraft, M.D., founder and medical director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, explained.

Doctor Schoolcraft says with CCS, women 35 to 37 have a 78% chance of pregnancy. Those 38 to 40 have a 68% chance and women up to 42 have a 62% chance. Another technique known as vitrification is making IVF more effective when embryos have to be frozen.

"You put it in a cooling solution, and very, very rapidly, so it cools within seconds," James Goldfarb, M.D, a reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist at Cleveland Clinic, said.

With conventional, slow freezing, about 30% of embryos do not survive. With the rapid freezing , embryos have more than a 95% chance of surviving. Another method called ICSI is making in-vitro a possibility for more men. Instead of placing thousands of sperm around the egg and hoping one will fertilize it, doctors take just one sperm and inject it into each egg. It's about 75 to 85 % successful.

After having the chromosome test, one of Valerie's eight embryos tested healthy.

"We have a perfect baby boy," Valerie said.

The new technologies aren't cheap. They run between one and five thousand dollars. That's in addition to the cost of IVF, which typically runs about 13 thousand dollars or more per cycle.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Sarah Stavros Marketing/Public Relations Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (303) 761-0579

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