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Updated: National Infertility Awareness Week Nov. 4-10; Infertility Affects Significant Number of Couples
Date:11/2/2007

ATLANTA, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- National Infertility Awareness Week is Nov. 4-10. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, infertility affects one in eight couples in the United States. Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system, in either a male or a female, which inhibits the ability to conceive and deliver a child. It is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of trying with unprotected intercourse for couples in which the female is younger than age 35 and six months of trying for couples in which the female is older than 35.

There are a number of factors that can cause the condition. In nearly 30 percent of cases, the cause is attributed to the female, in 30 percent the cause is attributed to the male, in 30 percent the cause is attributed to both and in 10 percent of cases the cause is unknown.

But innovative technology being perfected by Michael Tucker, recognized as one of the world's top 10 scientists in early human reproduction, means there are a host of alternatives for these couples.

Tucker, the scientific director at Georgia Reproductive Specialists (GRS) in Atlanta, is responsible for pioneering the world's first birth from frozen donor eggs. This breakthrough freezing process is offered locally at GRS.

Consider this scenario.

A 27-yr-old Atlanta woman, just ready to start a family with her new husband, is diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancer is detected in its early stages. Doctors are optimistic about a cure, but the woman must begin an aggressive treatment regimen immediately.

The doctor explains the side effects of the chemotherapy that he has prescribed and they fear, among many things, the potential that the treatments will render her infertile. They are deeply concerned, until they are counseled about a revolutionary, new option they can pursue to increase their chances of a successful pregnancy after the cancer treatments conclude. It is the freezing of the human egg, which after years of research, has reached a notable level of success thanks to the persistent work of innovator Tucker and a handful of other researchers who share his passion for the process.

"It's been a goal of mine and also of GRS to improve on protocols that have been published," Tucker said. "We have developed a successful approach to egg freezing referred to as vitrification which is giving us well over 65 percent survival for all eggs that we actually freeze and store. Among its many applications, it can be and has been used to enable us to store and perhaps preserve the fertility of those women who have to undergo extensive chemo or radiation therapy."

Egg freezing is one potential solution to a set of specific infertility issues. The causes of infertility are numerous as increasingly are the solutions.

Today, nearly 90 percent of infertility cases are overcome through the use of advanced techniques, Tucker said, including:

-- in vitro fertilization (IVF), a technique in which egg cells are

fertilized by sperm outside the woman's womb, then transferred to the

woman's uterus

-- intracytoplasmic sperm injection, often recommended when there is a

problem with the sperm, including low motility, low sperm count or

abnormally shaped sperm or previous poor fertilization in IVF or a low

egg number

-- assisted hatching, most commonly recommended for women who have had

failed IVF cycles, poor embryo development, are age 38 or older or have

thickened embryo shells

-- egg donation, an option for some women who are unable to conceive due

to poor egg quality or ovarian function, surgical removal of ovaries

due to chemotherapy or genetic issues

"The important thing for many couples facing infertility is that there typically is a solution or solutions for them. The key is to provide the most effective, high-quality reproductive healthcare services to help couples achieve the ultimate goal of creating a family," said Dr. Mark Perloe, GRS medical director. "Our physicians are nationally recognized for the personalized medical care they provide to each couple in search of infertility treatment."

About Georgia Reproductive Specialists

Georgia Reproductive Specialists' staff of well-respected, experienced physicians and embryologists along with its state-of-the-art facilities is proof of the company's commitment to achieve success through the combination of individualized patient-oriented medical care and the latest, most effective laboratory techniques. Its renowned reproductive endocrinologists are experts in female and male disorders, including polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, repeated pregnancy loss, menstrual disorders and azoospermia. The laboratory staff at GRS, specializing in in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection and other assisted reproductive technologies, plays a pivotal role in each in vitro fertilization cycle at GRS and also are called upon to lend their expertise to developing IVF centers across the country. For information, visit http://www.ivf.com.


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SOURCE Georgia Reproductive Specialists
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