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How have fertility treatments improved in the past 20 years?

Jennifer Lahl
Pediatric Nursing Specialist

Nursing and bioethics expert Jennifer Lahl discusses what women should know about advances in reproductive technology. Watch Jennifer Lahl's video for tips and information on women's health.

Dr. John K. Jain, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Over the past 20 years fertility treatments and technology has changed greatly. For the fertility specialist, improvements in ultrasound technology has allowed more accurate views of developing egg follicles and the ability to assess the uterus with a high degree of accuracy. The laboratory environment and the media used to grow embryos (culture) have greatly improved thus allowing better growth of embryos in the lab through the fifth day of development.

A revolution in the treatment of male infertility occurred with the development of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), a technique whereby a single sperm is injected directly into an egg, using a fine glass needle. Prior to ICSI, men with very low sperm counts often had to resort to the use of donor sperm. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is another technological advancement that allowes testing of embryos before implantation, in order  to detect those with genetic or chromosomal abnormalities. Another recent and valuable advancement occurred in the area of fertility preservation whereby eggs could be frozen unfertilized for indefinite periods of time. Egg freezing has become a viable alternative to freezing embryos.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.