Fertility and IVF Treatment

Your questions answered about fertility problems, IVF and travelling abroad for treatment

What factors affect fertility?

Age is the single biggest factor. As a woman ages her fertility declines, because her eggs diminish in quantity and quality. From age 35, a woman’s chances of conceiving begin to decrease. A 30-year-old patient has a 50 percent chance of conceiving per cycle, but for a 40 year old, that reduces to 20 percent.

Age is also important for men because sperm quality can deteriorate due to many lifestyle factors. Sperm quality can influence time to pregnancy, risk of miscarriage and health of the child. However, some protection can be offered by a high antioxidant diet balanced in favour of fruit and vegetables or even vitamin-based antioxidants.

Both being underweight or obese can cause hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle has been shown to deteriorate the quality of sperm over time.

Smoking and heavy drinking can increase the length of time it takes to get pregnant for both men and women.

Chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease or severe endometriosis can cause physical barriers to conception such as blocked fallopian tubes.

How are eggs and embryos frozen and stored?

Eggs and embryos are frozen by vitrification with survival rates for cleavage stage embryos and blastocysts of over 95 percent. Eggs have survival rates of more than 90 percent. How long they can be stored for depends on laws in each country. In Greece, eggs can be stored legally for a period of up to five years, with a possible extension of another five years.

What if sperm count is very low?

While regular IVF depends on the male having a normal sperm count, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can help in cases where sperm count and/or motility is extremely low.

In some cases where there is no sperm observed, the sperm can be retrieved from a testicular biopsy called TESE.

How many embryos are transferred?

It is now standard practice to only transfer one or two embryos in young patients with good prospects, and the embryos are preferentially transferred on day five when viability assessment is much better. All excess good quality embryos remaining after transfer are frozen and available for transfer at later date.

Recently, many patients are advised for all fresh embryos to be frozen and transfer arranged in a subsequent cycle. The uterus is thought to be more receptive in a natural cycle.

Can all tests and workups be arranged locally here in the UK, before treatment in abroad?

Yes, all consultations, preliminary tests and work-up for IVF can be arranged with local centres if they have experience with ultrasound vaginal scans and the ability to report blood samples for Estradiol within three to four hours. If this is possible, then time spent in abroad for fertility treatment can be reduced to between six to 10 days in total.

What is an embryoscope?

An embryoscope is a time-lapse incubator for embryo culture. This provides 24-hour constant monitoring of embryos to check details of embryo development and provides better assessment of embryo viability for transfer or freezing.

Is egg donation and surrogacy available in Greece?

Yes, laws for egg donation and surrogacy are liberal, with the age limit for embryo transfer at 50 years of age. Eggs are donated on anonymous basis, with full screening and extensive family history undertaken. Eggs can be donated by women of up to 35 years of age.

Embryogenesis is your one stop infertility treatment center, located within 20 minutes from Athens airport, close to the centre of Athens.

They offer all treatment on site, ranging from initial consultations, tests and examinations, office hysteroscopy, mammography, infertility work-up, sperm analysis, testicular biopsy, IVF treatment with ICSI/IMSI/embryoscope, embryo vitrification, egg freezing, embryo biopsy with NGS analysis for aneuploidies, and egg donation.

All in a relaxed environment.

Visit https://www.embryogenesis.gr/en/ for more information.


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