45-year-old Marie is currently in week 22 of her pregnancy, but her case truly is a special one: she suffers from endometriosis and only had a single viable embryo during her treatment. However, miracles do occur when science and cutting-edge technology are combined with the know-how of a renowned medical team and the embryologists’ outstanding work.
At the age of 35 a woman’s ovarian reserve drops by 50%; at the age of 38, 35% of the produced embryos will be aneuploid (chromosomal alterations) and at the age of 42, due to the low ovarian reserve, patients must resort to egg donation fertility treatments to form a family.
Apart from her age, suffering from endometriosis is what makes her case so unique – an illness which causes endometrial tissue to grow outside the uterus and, when invading other organs, such as the ovaries, negatively affects the egg quantity and quality.
However, endometriosis was a minor issue to Marie’s low ovarian capacity.
How medicine is capable of achieving the impossible
Marie had a talk with Dr. Aizpurua, assisted reproduction specialist and founder of IVF-Life: she had already undergone 2 stimulations at a New York fertility clinic.
Furthermore, due to her medical history and age, IVF-Life could not ensure succeeding with in vitro fertilisation; in fact only 3 eggs were obtained after stimulation, but, because of the absence of a male factor, and because sperm donors are chosen following the highest quality standards, IVF-Life achieved to fertilise two eggs by means of IVF. The following day, two zygotes were cultivated by means of the Time Lapse EEVA technique, which ultimately resulted in obtaining one embryo with great implantation capabilities. PGS was also recommended for this case.
PGS (Preimplantational Genetic Screening), allows us to detect chromosomal alterations, and thus only transferring embryos with an adequate chromosomal content. In Marie’s case, the PGS determined her Embryo was euploid, hence embryo implantation was possible.
Further actions to ensure a successful embryo implantation where taken. An endometrial biopsy was performed, and the obtained sample was analysed with ER Map® in order to determine the receptivity period of the endometrium.
Furthermore, IMap® measured the NK cell levels (NKs) and helped to predict the patient’s immunological response at the moment of implantation – in some cases the immune system may reject the transferred embryo. To this end, IVF-Life administers intravenous immunoglobulin, which helps reducing the NK levels – although Marie’s immune response was within normal parameters, additional measures were taken to protect the patient’s only embryo and her last chance to become a mother.
Our commitment and care is by no mean an isolated case: it is a philosophy of work. Each patient is unique, and we are aware of patients placing their last hopes in us. Success is not always achieved, but miracles do occur sometimes.