Over the years, the human body undergoes various changes that result in a reduced ability to reproduce, reducing the quality of the gametes (eggs and sperm) and often causing what is known as infertility. For this reason, there are various fertility techniques, such as ovarian rejuvenation using PRP, which help to minimise its impact.
Infertility is a condition described as a person’s inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of sexual intercourse and is estimated to be the most common cause of infertility. According to the national registry of the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), infertility affects between 15% and 17% of the population in our country.
Professionals in the world of reproductive health have advanced to keep assisted reproduction techniques at the height of the circumstances, seeking excellence in their treatments in order to respond to the needs of patients.
A clear example of these technical improvements is the implementation of PRP in treatments such as ovarian rejuvenation, capable of reversing a poor reproductive prognosis and offering access to a greater number of eggs for assisted reproduction. The medical co-director of the IVF-Life Donostia fertility clinic and expert in Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Estefanía Rodríguez, explains what ovarian rejuvenation consists of and how it helps patients who undergo this treatment.
What is the purpose of ovarian rejuvenation techniques?
E.R. Ovarian rejuvenation techniques arise from a need forced by social changes, generating a delay in the age of motherhood. On a biological level, women after the age of 35 begin to lose a large number of eggs and this is a problem that seriously affects our fertility.
Nowadays, the improvement of the working status and the involvement of women in this field makes it more complicated to have a first child. For this reason, we have to find reproductive solutions to improve women’s fertility and, an example of this, are the ovarian rejuvenation techniques, which try to increase the chances of these people who need it to achieve pregnancy.
What does ovarian reserve have to do with this type of treatment?
E.R. Ovarian reserve is the amount of eggs that a woman has at any given time, and we lose eggs throughout our lives. As a consequence, with the passage of time, ovarian function decreases as this ovarian reserve diminishes.
There are cases in which this decline comes earlier and in others it comes later. From the age of 35 the ovarian reserve decreases and at 38-39 it decreases notably. With ovarian rejuvenation techniques we offer a greater time margin or we improve the number of eggs available. This increases the chances of good results, in principle in reproduction techniques, although it could also improve the chances of pregnancy in a natural way, if there is a spontaneous ovulation that previously did not exist.
What is the Platelet Rich Plasma biostimulation technique?
E.R. PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma is the patient’s own plasma that carries growth factors extracted from platelets in the patient’s own blood. These growth factors will activate, in this case in the ovary, increasing vascularization and blood flow to the ovary, which leads to the activation of certain cells that allow greater recruitment of eggs available for fertilization.
What we do is to draw blood at first, process it with specific techniques and access those factors, which will allow us to have a better ovarian function. This effect can take place before or after, so we perform a detailed follow-up of the patients.
Is there any change in the process depending on the characteristics of the patient?
E.R. Usually, if you are a woman with a certain ovarian function, the patient is stimulated in order to facilitate the application of the technique, since what is carried out is an injection of this plasma into the ovary. When the ovary is very small, the injection is more complex, whereas when the ovary is stimulated it is larger and is simpler and allows the process to be carried out in the safest possible way.
If it is not possible to stimulate the ovary, we can perform the injection at first, without stimulation, and then wait for the patient’s evolution to evaluate the case.
What improvements does the patient present before and after this type of treatment?
E.R. In the end, the objective of the technique is to improve the availability of the patient’s oocytes in order to obtain a greater number of useful oocytes, with the aim of performing a reproductive technique, thus obtaining better results.
What we achieve with this process is that the patient’s reproductive prognosis improves, increasing access to this ovarian reserve and selecting the eggs with the best genetic quality.
How is the evaluation and analysis of the patient like?
E.R. The objectives are always very clear, within the framework of a novel technique such as this, and once the technique is performed, we continue with an analytical and ultrasound follow-up to evaluate the improvement in the response of the ovaries. It can take a month or even two months for the plasma to act on the ovaries to activate them. Once we have managed to activate them, a new stimulation is performed in order to carry out the fertilisation technique and improve the results. The patient will be able to compare the results previously obtained with the new ones in a very clear way.
Most of the cases who come to us interested in this type of technique or to whom we propose this option, are usually patients who have already participated in previous treatments with bad results, who have been given a poor reproductive prognosis, due to a very low ovarian reserve or ovarian failure, and this is the option we have to improve their possibilities to the maximum.
Which patients come to IVF-Life Donostia who require this treatment?
E.R. Mainly, we find many cases of people who have already participated in reproductive medicine processes and who have been discarded to participate in different treatments in which they were not offered solutions due to their condition.
When the results of ultrasound scans or even previous stimulation attempts have not achieved a response, another type of stimulation was discarded and they were offered other techniques such as fertilization through egg donation, because the patient was not able to achieve pregnancy with her own eggs.
Ovarian rejuvenation allows, therefore, the birth of a child with the patient’s own eggs, offering the possibility of not having to resort to external genetic material and making the baby belong genetically entirely to the mother and father.
What cases are indicated for this type of therapy?
E.R. This treatment is specifically recommended for all those women with a poor reproductive prognosis due to a low number of available eggs. However, many patients can achieve pregnancy in a natural way, thanks to a spontaneous ovulation that did not occur before the treatment.
The age spectrum is very wide and, generally, it tends to have better results in younger women, since the quality of the eggs is usually better.
With age the quality of the eggs will not be as good, but this technique improves the options for many women to achieve pregnancy.
Thanks to professionals like Estefanía, at IVF-Life Group we apply the most outstanding technical advances in the field of assisted reproduction, allowing many women and couples to be able to start a family.
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