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Small Advances Contribute to Higher Success Rates

December 1, 2002

More and more baby-making challenged couples coming to SDFC become parents thanks to improved technology. Drs. Hummel and Kettel estimate the current success rate to be about 50 percent per cycle of treatment compared to 14 percent 20 years ago. One technique that dramatically increased success rates was the development of ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) in 1992. ICSI, where a single sperm is injected into a single egg, gives many men dealing with low to zero sperm counts the opportunity to have children.

However, small developments that seem very trivial have contributed to higher success as well. For example, the use of a soft catheter to transfer embryos into the woman’s uterus instead of a stiff catheter. Using a soft catheter the physician avoids creating irritation in the uterine lining, which may prevent implantation of the embryo. Ultrasound guided placement of embryos has also added precision of the embryo transfer . Another positive impact has been the advance in cryopreservation or freezing of sperm and embryos. Freezing of reproductive cells maximizes the efficiency of fertility treatment and gives women a better chance of having a family.

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