MicroSort laboratories perform the sorting procedure and generate an enriched sperm sample that can be used with a wide variety of assisted reproductive techniques. These techniques are performed by gynecologists and specialized physicians. The different assisted reproductive techniques available depends on the circumstances of each couple.
MicroSort laboratories are designed to work in collaboration with clinics and physicians around the globe that perform these assisted reproductive techniques.
Each couple, together with their physician, will decide the ideal assisted reproductive technique to be used, monitor the ovulation cycle, and determine the optimal date for the MicroSort procedure.
Each technique offers different options and requirements:
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): is a non-invasive technique. Sorting a specimen for IUI requires 140 million total sperm of which 50% or more are motile. Because of this, it is not recommended to cryopreserve a sorted sample or use cryopreserved samples. For this technique the procedure and insemination are performed on the ovulation day.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) and/or Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): these techniques require a longer process but offer a wide variety of protocols and options for each case. IVF and ICSI allow us to work with semen specimens containing a minimum of 70 million total sperm of which 50% or more are motile. There are other options available that allow for specimens that do not meet these minimums. These techniques also allow us to use cryopreserved samples, or cryopreserve a sorted sample for future use. Cryopreserved samples can be shipped to other locations around the globe. The ability to ship to specific locations is dependent upon local regulations.
- MicroSort Plus PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis): is a powerful, more efficient combination when used for Family Balancing.
Sperm that has been sorted with MicroSort may be used to fertilize eggs retrieved during an IVF cycle. Since MicroSort is performed first; most of the sorted sperm used for fertilization of the eggs retrieved through IVF will carry either an X chromosome (female) or a Y chromosome (male), depending on the couple's choice. In this way, a greater percentage of embryos (fertilized eggs) would be of the desired gender. The higher percentage of embryos of the desired gender may be critically important, because not all of the embryos will have the same potential for producing a baby. Therefore, a couple who is trying to have a baby of the desired gender has a greater chance of achieving their goal if the embryologist and doctor have a greater choice of which embryos to transfer.
The genetic PGD test determines which embryo will produce a boy and which will produce a girl with more than 99% accuracy. This test can also eliminate embryos that have abnormal chromosomes. Healthy looking embryos of the desired gender are then transferred to the uterus for possible implantation.
Many couples choose PGD to additionally screen their embryos for certain chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. Down syndrome) or familial genetic diseases. Data from GIVF and elsewhere suggests that on average approximately 60% of all embryos are chromosomally abnormal. This risk can be higher or lower depending on certain factors, such as maternal age. PGD screened embryos have a lower spontaneous loss rate, and a reduced risk of chromosome abnormality. Besides a normal PGD chromosome test, the embryos that are most likely to implant also grow well before implantation and look viable under the microscope.
Consider the following two examples of couples interested in family balancing:
Couple A elects IVF and PGD for family balancing (female) but declines MicroSort. In this example, if ten embryos are generated in the course of their IVF cycle, on average, five male and five female embryos would be expected since there is typically a 50% chance to have either a boy or girl in any pregnancy. However, it may be determined that the embryos with the best chance of survival are of the less desired gender. If that happens, the choice is between the best embryos, which have the less desired gender, and the less healthy embryos of the desired gender. This choice is not ideal, and it will decrease your odds of pregnancy with the desired gender.
Couple B elects IVF and PGD for family balancing (female) with MicroSort. Assuming that ten embryos are also generated in the course of their IVF cycle, the couple desiring a female could expect on average eight or nine of the embryos to be female, since MicroSort for females generally results in 85-90% X-bearing sperm. For males, the chances are that seven to eight of the embryos will be boys. With so many embryos of the desired gender, the probability that the doctor can identify viable embryos of the desired gender to transfer is much higher.
In this way, MicroSort used in concert with IVF and PGD provides a greater chance of having normal embryos of the desired gender available for both transfer and cryopreservation.
MicroSort laboratories can provide all the information needed so you can, in collaboration with your physician, plan the optimal date to perform the MicroSort procedure.
If you are interested in finding a physician or clinic that is already in collaboration with MicroSort, please consult our list of collaborators.
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