Flyer for an infertility workshop we will be holding in Russia.
Flyer for an infertility workshop we will be holding in Russia.
Professor Emeritus Robert Edwards, recent recipient of the Nobel Price in Medicine, was a pioneer for many of the IVF techniques that help the modern couple overcome the hurdles of infertility to become pregnant. While Edwards is most famous for overseeing the first successful IVF baby in 1978, he was also an instrumental force behind research for alternative forms of IVF – methods like Natural Cycle and Minimal Stimulation IVF. In an article submitted to the Reproductive BioMedicine Online, published in 2007, Bob Edwards writes that “Minimal Stimulation IVF, and Natural Cycle IVF… both represent steps in the development of routine IVF.”
Our own Dr. Zhang had the honor of working with Robert Edwards beginning in the late 1980s at Cambridge. The knowledge, experience, and passion for healthier fertility care that Zhang brought to New Hope has made it a current world leader in Natural Cycle and Mini-IVF. Our next few posts will talk about these two methods, the science and technology behind them, as well as how they are approached and what you can expect at New Hope Fertility. We will begin with some discussion on Natural Cycle IVF.
The two major reasons why someone may want to consider a Natural Cycle IVF are health and cost. While this is not to say that traditional, stimulated IVF is unhealthy, we believe that it is always better to use less drugs and medication when possible. Natural Cycle IVF minimizes the amount of medication that is used and is therefore considered to be a less invasive measure. Along the same lines, patients who opt for a Natural Cycle IVF will get to have lower costs because they don’t have to worry about the costs associated with drugs and medicine.
We’ve heard some skepticism about Natural Cycle IVF – that it takes many more treatments to have the same pregnancy rate as a stimulated IVF. However, New Hope is committed to its belief that one good egg is all that it takes to make one healthy baby, and our numbers back this up. A substantial majority of our Natural Cycle IVF patients get pregnant in the first two cycles. Our standard Natural Cycle IVF package covers you for three cycles to make the odds of pregnancy quite high and the treatment only costs $2,333 per cycle ($7,000). In comparison, a Conventional IVF package for only one cycle would be $4,800 with an additional $3000-$5000 worth of medications, making it much more costly even at its most optimistic.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has been accepting more and more papers and abstracts about research that continues to be done about Natural Cycle IVF and we only expect the care to improve as time goes on. Our own clinical trials program has been keeping at the forefront of Natural Cycle IVF, and the addition of a state-of-the-art laboratory in our imminent west-side location will only help us continue to learn and improve our techniques.
Natural Cycle IVF may not be a perfect or full-proof treatment for infertility care, but at this point, all treatment types are going to come with various pros and cons. If you are considering care or starting to look into your options, we encourage you to think about what each type of care entails to choose the one that is best for you. Our doctors are available for consultation and can help you understand each treatment type (you can set up an appointment here) and we are happy to field general questions on this blog.
Some exciting news in the world of Fertility Care just left the Associate Press – Robert Edwards, one of the fathers of human in vitro fertilization (IVF), just won the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine.
Dr. Zhang, here at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York had the privilege of working with Edwards from 1987-1991 while pursuing his PhD in IVF at Cambridge University. Although this will undoubtedly be a controversial award, Zhang shares in the excitement of his colleagues and is aware of the reasons why this award is an important form of public recognition for the field of Fertility Care.
Zhang sees the award as somewhat unexpected because, in general, Nobel prizes tend to get awarded for theoretical achievements – people with great ideas. “IVF, however, isn’t just an idea,” Zhang says, “it is a medical practice that doctors have been devoting their lives to – a practice that some of us do every day to help couples who suffer from infertility.”
Awarding the Nobel prize to a pioneer in IVF is significant because it comes as a change to a long history of nominations, but no actual awards, for work and achievements in IVF. “If Edwards is the ‘father’ of IVF,” Zhang says, “the ‘grandfather’ of IVF would be a man named M.C. Chang” who, in 1959 reported the first live birth following lab fertilization with a rabbit (Nature 1959). Although Chang and, later, Dr. Yanagimachi, one of Chang’s post-doc students, were nominated for no less than five Nobel prizes for their respective achievements, Edwards is the first to actually win the prize.
Karl Ritter and Malin Rising, writers for the Associate Press, talk about how part of the reason why it may have taken the Nobel committee so long to recognize the work done with fertility care was due to speculation about the health of so called “test-tube” babies conceived in vitro and their subsequent ability to have healthy babies of their own. Louise Brown, the first person born to in vitro fertilization on July 25, 1978, however, has grown up healthy and, in fact, gave birth to her own child, conceived naturally, in 2007. The success of the first baby born from in vitro fertilization was no doubt a large factor in the decision to recognize one of the founders of in vitro fertilization.
Zhang says that he hopes the award will help raise consciousness about fertility care in the United States, which is still one of only a few developed countries that have not made fertility care part of its standard health care coverage. “There are many treatments that are commonly accepted as part of basic healthcare that should be provided – in most countries fertility care is one of those. Unfortunately this is not the case in America even though Americans are afflicted by the same rates of infertility as people in any other country.”