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Success factors for an assisted reproduction treatment

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Spain is one of the leading countries in the field of assisted reproduction. It is, in fact, the first European state to carry out these techniques. This is due to a modern legislation that favours donation and does not restrict the age to undergo treatments, but also to the quality and professionalism of its clinics. Spanish centres are equipped with cutting-edge technology and the best medical equipment available.

This contributes to many women around the world choosing to have their assisted reproduction treatments in Spanish centres. A decision that is supported by the results: success rates in Spanish clinics are among the highest on the international scene.

However, when comparing these clinics, there are a number of factors that can make a difference when it comes to obtaining positive results. This is, for example, the application of certain techniques and protocols that allow to increase, even more, the chances of success. Here, we are going to review some of these techniques, all of which are performed at iGin, and that are also key to achieving pregnancy with an assisted reproduction treatment.

  • ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection). It is an important advance within the assisted reproduction technique included in the In Vitro Fertilisation treatment. Thanks to it, we have achieved pregnancy in couples diagnosed with a relevant male factor.

    It consists in individually microinjecting each oocyte with a previously selected sperm. Sperm selection allows our laboratory experts to make an optimal sperm choice, since only sperm with the highest potential will be used for fertilisation, thus optimizing embryonic quality.

    At iGin, we perform the ICSI technique in all our In Vitro Fertilisation treatments. It can be performed even under the most adverse circumstances, with few sperms or complicated semen samples.

  • Sperm capacitation. At iGin, we always favour the use of fresh semen samples. However, in the case of sperm donations, this is used frozen. This is also the procedure when the male partner needs a testicular puncture to retrieve the sperm or if he is unable to attend on the day of the egg retrieval.

    After the collection of the sample, we carry out its capacitation: the process that allows the sperm to acquire the ability to fertilize the ovum. These are modifications in their structure and mobility that are performed so that the sperm can penetrate the membrane that covers the oocyte and fuse with it. Depending on the diagnosis of the spermiogram, some of these capacitation techniques will be performed: 

    • Density gradient centrifugation. It is the conventional technique and consists in using two media of different density to mimic the phases of the natural path of sperm. Only motile sperms with the best morphology will reach the last phase of density.

    • Swim-up. Indicated for samples with worse motility or concentration. Sperms are selected based on their ability to rise from the bottom of a laboratory tube to the top in the culture medium.

    • MACS (Magnetic Activated Cell Sorting). This technique discards dead sperms or those that are in the process of dying, leaving only the living ones. It is suitable for patients with necrozoospermia. With this technique, the probability of achieving an embryo is further increased.

    • Fertile-Chip. In patients with recurrent miscarriages, failure of previous treatment, embryonic blockage after the third day, or advanced age (men over 47 years of age), a sperm DNA fragmentation test is usually recommended. If this test gives a positive result, the Fertile Chip technique will be indicated. It is a modern method that discards those sperms with this type of fragmentation, improving the success of the ICSI.

  • Blasctocyst culture. At iGin embryos are always cultured to blastocyst stage (day five or six of embryo development) before transferring them to the uterus. These have a greater capacity for implantation as they have shown great potential by being able to reach that stage. In addition, since their cellular structures are much more differentiated, it is more likely to make a better embryo selection for transfer. Working only with blastocyst stage embryos allows single transfers at the same time as greatly increasing the success rates for pregnancy. Moreover, the synchrony between the endometrium and embryonic development is improved, lowering the chance of miscarriages and also the chances of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities.

  • Assisted Hatching. This technique is applied on the fifth day of embryo development. When evaluating the number of blastocysts obtained, embryologists drill the zona pellucida of the embryo to optimize its implantation in the uterus. It is a safe and reliable method that, again, increases the chances of achieving pregnancy.

  • Genetic compatibility test (Matching). This procedure allows the couple's screening tests for recessive diseases to be compared, ensuring that both are not carriers of the same mutation, thus preventing the resulting embryos from being affected by that condition. 

  • Embryoglue. It is an embryo culture medium that is especially suitable for implantation failures, as it improves endometrial growth factors for the embryo to settle.

The application of these techniques, together or separately, can be an important advantage when it comes to achieving pregnancy. Together with the professionalism of our medical and laboratory staff and the technology used, it is one of the reasons why iGin has success rates above the national average for all reproductive treatments.


About IGIN Institute

IGIN Institute is a medical centre specialising in gynecology and assisted reproduction.
With its head office in Bilbao, in a modern infrastructure that provides its services using the latest technology without underestimating the human connection.