RDI performed the lab procedures for the first birth in Ohio from ICSI. Our success rates have consistently been at or above the national average for over 20 years. Compare success rates. RDI also offers biopsy procedures for Pre- implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), embryo hatching via laser technique, and embryo cryopreservation and vitrification. Our long term storage facilities are monitored 24/ 7/ 365 and are specifically designed for storage of cryopreserved sperm, oocytes, embryos, and other reproductive tissue.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
An assisted reproductive technology procedure in which the female is injected with hormones that “superstimulate” or superovulate the ovaries in order to produce multiple follicles, and thus multiple eggs, in a single cycle. Growth of the follicles is monitored using ultrasounds and blood estrogen level results. The eggs are retrieved via vaginal ultrasound in the physician’s office just prior to natural ovulation and are fertilized by adding the male’s sperm into the same petri dish in the laboratory. The resulting embryos are cultured until they reach a certain cell stage and then a number of the best embryos are transferred back into the uterus. It may be possible to cryopreserve remaining embryos for future cycles, provided they are of sufficient quality to withstand the cryopreservation process.
Intra- Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
An assisted reproductive technology procedure in which the superovulation and egg retrieval part of an IVF procedure is performed first. Rather than allowing fertilization to occur by combining the sperm and eggs in a petri dish as in IVF, a single sperm cell is injected into each egg to result in fertilization. ICSI is often used in situations where males have compromised motility which may prevent the sperm cell from penetrating an egg on its own or a low sperm count in which the probability of a sperm fertilizing the egg is reduced. Resulting embryos are cultured to a certain cell stage then transferred back to the female as in an IVF procedure.
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
Cryopreserved (frozen) embryos are thawed at appropriate timeframes to coincide with the recipient’s cycle. The embryos are then transferred back to the uterus. Advantages of using FET include no superovulation medications are required, less time to prepare the recipient for embryo transfer, and lower costs than a complete IVF or ICSI procedure.
Embryos naturally “hatch” from the zona pellucida, a protective outer covering, on or about day 6 in the human. This hatching facilitates implantation of the embryo into the uterine lining. With increasing age of the female, cryopreservation processes, or other inherent causes, the zona can be hardened or unusually thick and impair the embryo’s natural ability to hatch. The laboratory can artificially “hatch” an embryo using laser or chemical techniques to breach the zona.
Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
PGD is a powerful tool for those patients who are carriers of certain genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis. One cell or blastomere of a 6- 8 cell embryo is biopsied and sent to a testing facility for detailed genetic analysis. Within days, unaffected embryos can be differentiated from those affected or carrying the condition. Patients can then identify which embryos are suitable for transfer and/ or cryopreservation.
Cryopreservation and Vitrification
Both of these terms refer to methods of preserving reproductive tissues, whether it be sperm, eggs, embryos, or tissue itself. Cryopreservation has a historically successful track record and is based on the concept of removing intracellular water prior to freezing. This reduces the amount of ice crystals that form within the cell during freezing and allows the cell to survive both freezing and thawing. Vitrification techniques are newer and are based on exposing cells to “antifreeze” solutions with very rapid freezing to completely eliminate ice crystal formation. RDI has successfully used both techniques in different applications within our infertility program.
Surgical Sperm Retrieval
In situations where no sperm cells are ejaculated, but it has been determined that sperm are being produced (e.g., prior vasectomy, congenital absence of the vas deferens, undetermined blockage, etc.), sperm cells may be retrieved surgically through the use of testicular biopsy or aspiration of vas or seminiferous tubule fluid. This procedure must be conducted by a trained urologist. RDI regularly performs analyses for urologists during sperm harvesting and then transports collected samples to the laboratory for detailed analysis and cryopreservation.