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 A. General Patient Education


Patient Education Philosophy
We are wholeheartedly committed to providing state of the art patient education programs for our patients. Offering multiple patient education programs, we set the high standard for quality patient education programs. 

Your educational experience begins prior to becoming a patient. Following your meeting with one of our physicians, you will be assigned a Patient Education Specialist. This clinical specialist will spend quality time with you reviewing basic testing, treatments, side effects, and possible complications. Additionally, prior to beginning treatment cycles, you again will meet with your Patient Education Specialist. She or he will present you with the “Blue Bag” containing comprehensive materials, drug samples, contact phone numbers, treatment plans, and lists of possible side effects and complications. Ultimately, you will spend time with a Patient Financial Counselor who will guide you through the often complex and stressful financial issues surrounding fertility medical care. 
At each point in your treatment process, you will be asked to fill out a Patient Feedback Form regarding your care and your patient education experience. We compile these feedback forms monthly. Our patient satisfaction and results typically exceed 90%.

Since we value patient education so highly, we hope you find your educational and clinical experience at Chicago-IVF to be favorable. Please provide feedback on the Patient Satisfaction Forms such that we can continue to improve our service.

IVF Patient Education Program
If your physician recommends In Vitro Fertilization, you will be enrolled into our IVF patient education program. Our team invests significant effort and energy into reducing the stress and increasing pregnancy rates for IVF patients.
 
Our IVF Patient Education Program includes the following:
  • 30 to 60 minutes of Internet-based IVF Education.
  • 30 to 60 minutes reviewing comprehensive IVF Patient Education materials.
  • 60 to 90 minute in-person education session with an IVF Patient Education Specialist.
Your IVF Patient Education materials will include the following:
  • Instructional CD-ROM.
  • IVF information brochure.
  • Map to facility.
  • A spiral-bound book – containing many pages of educational materials.
  • Multiple IVF Education Fact Sheets from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
  • A complete set of consent forms.
  • Internet resource list listing multiple national-caliber internet resources.
Patient Feedback regarding our IVF Patient Education Program has always been exceptional. Couples pursuing IVF seem to enjoy comprehensive education program prior to undergoing In Vitro Fertilization. Please fill out the feedback form. We take patient feedback seriously and continually strive to improve our service.

Surgical Patient Education
Planning for a surgical procedure can be an emotional and nerve-wracking experience. Our Team makes every effort to reduce your stress and make your experience as pleasant as possible.

If your physician recommends surgery, you will meet with our clinical education specialist.

Patient Education materials may include:
  • A 4-page patient instruction sheet discussing pre and postoperative issues.
  • Map of the surgical facility.
  • A picture of the actual surgical procedure.
  • A brochure of materials discussing the surgical facility.
  • Preanesthesia sheets and instructions.
  • Question and answer sheets discussing surgical scheduling.
We hope you will spend quality time with your clinical educator. Please complete Patient Feedback form and turn this into the front desk. We take patient feedback seriously and continually try to improve our surgical education programs.

Ovulation Induction Patient Education
If ovulation induction with either pills (Clomid®) or shots (gonadotropin) is recommended by your physician, you will then meet with a clinical educator. Our Team places much emphasis and puts much effort in the patient education. We hope your education experience is favorable.
 
The Ovulation Induction Patient Education materials will include: 
  • Introductory Letter.
  • General booklet on ovulation induction.
  • General booklet discussing intrauterine insemination.
  • Booklet discussing fertility shots.
  • Booklet discussing assisted reproductive technologies.
  • Chart outlining ultrasound and blood test monitoring.
  • Basic instruction sheet.
  • Side effects and possible complication sheets.
  • Injection-teaching material.
  • ASRM Fact Sheet on fertility shots.
  • ASRM Fact Sheet on possible association of fertility drugs with ovarian cancer.
  • Pharmacy ordering materials.
We hope you will spend quality time with your clinical educator. Please complete Patient Feedback form and turn this into the front desk. We take patient feedback seriously and continually try to improve our education programs.

Patient Education Feedback

As our Company Mission states, ... “To provide the answers and compassion you need on the journey to complete your family.”, We continually try to improve our education programs. Please provide feedback regarding your education experience. We compile this data monthly and take the results very seriously.

Please Click Here to submit feedback on our Patient Education Program.

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 B. Infertility Overview



Infertility Overview
It is a fact that over six million people in the United States alone are affected by infertility and many of those people deal with the enormous stress related to the condition. The incredible staff at Chicago-IVF take an initiative to reduce the stress level. We work together with the patient and their partner as a team to develop a treatment plan that will make the best use of the resources available to solve the problem as quickly, safely and inexpensively as possible.

Infertility not only affects females but males as well. Infertility is a condition that inhibits the ability to conceive and deliver a child. Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of trying with unprotected intercourse for couples in which the female is under 35 and six months of trying for couples in which the female is over 35.

Approximately one in six couples are affected by infertility and there are a number of factors, both male and female, that can cause the condition. In fact, in only one-third of infertility cases is the cause attributed to the female. It is a fact that surprisingly one-third is attributed to the male. The final one-third of the cases can be either be attributed to both as a cause or simply unknown.
Once the cause of infertility has been determined, a plan can be customized for the patient to fit their unique situation and move them along on the path to conceiving a child. In fact, nearly 90% of infertility cases are treatable with medical therapies such as drug treatment, surgical repair of reproductive organs and assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization.

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 C. Egg Donation



Becoming An Egg Donor - General Information
We at Chicago IVF would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest into the Oocyte Donation Program. In this section you will find information to assist you in the decision whether you would like to pursue the possibility of becoming an egg donor.

In this section, we discuss several issues surrounding the whole process of egg donation, why a woman would need egg donation, and briefly how the process takes place.

Oocyte Donation can benefit three groups of patients suffering from the following difficulties related to the inability to produce a pregnancy:

1. Premature ovarian failure (Early Menopause)


2. Occult ovarian failure


3. Advanced maternal age


Premature ovarian failure
occurs in women under the age of 40 for a variety of reasons having entered into menopause at an early age.

Occult ovarian failure
occurs in a woman who still has monthly periods, but whose eggs are for some reason unable to conceive. This group makes up the largest group of women needing egg donation.

Advanced maternal age
patients may inhibit a woman's egg from conceiving due to the increased age of her eggs. By retrieving eggs obtained from younger women, they can experience the joy of carrying and delivering a child.

Steps To Donate Your Eggs:


1. Complete the online Application/Questionnaire

2. Acceptance into program
3. Donor/Recipient match
4. Injectable medication to suppress ovarian function
5. Injectable medication known as fertility medications
6. Monitoring of ovaries by ultrasounds and lab work
7. Retrieval of eggs once maturing is complete


The ideal donor is typically a reliable woman interested in helping women overcome their infertility. It is preferable that a donor already has children without a history of infertility herself.

Confidentiality
The majority of donors remain anonymous. Which means, both the recipient and the donor does not meet or know each other. However, the recipient might choose a “known donor” (e.g. a sister or friend).

Compensation
Donors are considered as volunteers, but are compensated for the time and effort devoted to this endeavor. Please contact Angela Wickstrom or Amy Howland, our Egg Donation Program Coordinators for current compensation per completed cycle.

Questions

Questions can be addressed to Angela Wickstrom or Amy Howland, our Egg Donation Program Coordinators at Chicago IVF. Once the completed application has been returned and reviewed, you then will be contacted to schedule an appointment for a brief physical exam and necessary screening blood work. If all preliminary testing is acceptable, you will be notified of your acceptance and entered into the Chicago IVF, Oocyte Donation Program.

Basic Egg Donation Steps To Follow
We want to make the process of donating eggs a very simple and efficient process. Please follow the steps as listed below:

Steps To Donate Your Eggs


1.
Download and read thoroughly our online Oocyte Egg Donation Booklet
Note: You will need the Adobe Reader to view forms. Click Here to download the latest Reader from Adobe.

Complete Oocyte (Egg) Donation Booklet for Donors and Recipients 

2.
Complete the Online Application/Questionnaire and Sign the Consent Form

Prospective Egg Donor Application/Questionnaire

Consent Form to Donate Eggs

3. Physical exam and lab clearance

4. Acceptance into program

5. Donor recipient match

6. Injectable medication to suppress ovarian function

7. Injectable medication known as fertility drugs

8. Monitoring of ovaries by ultrasound and lab work

9. Retrieval of eggs once maturation is complete

Egg Donation Program - Questions and Answers
1. If I donate my eggs, is there any cost to me?

No. As an egg donor, you will not incur any expenses. In fact, you will be compensated for your time and effort. Please inquire with our staff as to current reimbursement egg donors.

2. If we (I) receive donated eggs, is there a cost?


Yes. The recipient couple usually pays medication costs, testing costs, and associated fees to the egg donor. Often times, health insurance pays for specific portions of egg donation cycles. Please address financial inquiries regarding the egg donation program to our egg donation coordinator.

3. Do I have a say as to who will receive my eggs?


No. The process of egg donation is typically anonymous. Following National guidelines, we maintain separate records, such that donor and recipient are not known to each other.

4. Am I automatically accepted as an egg donor?


No. You will be screened via questionnaire. Chicago IVF reserves the right to accept or refuse egg donors into the egg donation program. The following exclusion criteria may be:

  • Age
  • Medical History
  • Genetic History
5. What are the success rates?

Success rates for egg donation typically relate to the age of the donor. In general, the younger the donor, the higher the success rates. Success rates for egg donation typically exceed those for a woman using her own eggs. Please click on the following link or refer to Success Rate Area of this website.

6. If I decide to donate my eggs, do I have to undergo further testing?


Yes. You will be screened via a health questionnaire, genetic questionnaire, psychological evaluation, medical screening, genetic screening, and infectious disease screening. Please contact our egg donor coordinator for current screening guidelines.

7. If my eggs result in a pregnancy, will I have legal responsibility for offspring?


According to current law, egg donation and embryo donors are not legally responsible for offspring from their embryos or eggs. You have the option of consulting with an attorney (at an additional cost to you). Please be aware that third party reproduction law is a legal specialty, not all attorneys are well versed in this area. Our staff or the American Bar Association can provide names of attorneys specializing in this area of law.

8. What if the children from embryo or egg donation accidentally reproduce with their siblings (consanguineous reproduction)?


This is a common question asked by embryo, sperm, and egg donors. According to published guidelines and basic statistics, if one couple donates cryopreserved embryos, the chance of accidentally meeting and mating with a sibling is extremely unlikely. For further information regarding this topic, please contact our staff or The American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

9. Why does an infertile couple choose to use egg donors?


Other options such as additional fertility treatments, childless living, or a child adoption are often expensive and cumbersome or the couple is not interested in these options. Often times, the egg donor recipient is in early phases of menopause and cannot produce her own eggs. Ultimately, the couple choosing to undergo egg donation is able to select basic genetic traits, social, and religious backgrounds that they value. Ultimately, the woman receiving egg donation is able to conceive and bear her own child.

10. If I donate my eggs, are frozen embryos returned to me?


No. All eggs and frozen embryos that are resultant from your egg donation are the property of the recipient couple. Please refer to the legal consent forms.

11. Can children born from egg donation ever find their biological parents?


Egg donation is an anonymous process. Separate anonymously numbered charts are kept for donor and recipient. Should such a request come to us, appropriate legal means would be utilized in order to protect all parties.

12. Have there been any reported psychological problems with children born through this method?


Egg donation is a relatively new technology. Associated issues and concerns have yet to be raised and certainly no long-term studies are available. One might assume that similar psychological issues are associated with adoption and would arise from embryo or egg donation. Considering all emotional and psychological variables, some couples will not choose this method of reproduction.

13. If I choose to donate eggs, what is my next step?


Please contact our Egg Donor Coordinator.

14. If I choose to become an egg donor recipient, what is my next step?


Please contact our Egg Donor Coordinator.

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 D. Male Factor Infertility



Male Factor Infertility and Treatment Options
A common myth related to infertility is that the woman is almost always to blame. When infertility becomes a problem, the female's reproductive ability is often the first to become suspect. However, problems in males are not uncommon. In fact, for infertile couples, male reproductive issues account for roughly 30 percent to 40 percent of problems. An issue with sperm can be the sole problem of infertility, or it can simply be one of many factors.

A doctor can determine whether “male factor infertility” is a reason for concern. During a screening, a doctor will consider a male's history and perform a semen analyses. During the examination, a doctor will ask about the man's medical history, as well as any issues that have become apparent during the previous three months.

During the semen analysis, the doctor could spot abnormalities and recommend a more thorough examination by a specialist. Problems include low sperm count or unhealthy sperm. While sperm count might be a factor, it is known that men with low sperm counts have conceived, and men with healthy sperm counts have been unable.

At a molecular level, sperm may have the inability to swim straight or fast, and they might be unable to detect an egg. In other situations, the sperm can locate an egg, but fertilization is not possible.

Both diagnoses and treatment techniques have come a long way when it comes to male factor infertility. In addition to in vitro fertilization, therapies are available to help a man boost his sperm count and overall sperm health. With in vitro fertilization, the sperm need not worry about the long trek to the egg, and a specialist can actually insert the sperm into the egg, making fertilization that much easier.

The lab at Chicago IVF is fully equipped and able to conduct a full evaluation. Please contact Chicago IVF to learn more about male infertility screenings and male factor infertility treatments.

Do I Need To See A Urologist?
Our Group is associated with several urologists specializing in Male Factor Infertility. Please Click Here for details regarding these physicians.

Male Factor Infertility is best evaluated and treated by seeing a competent fertility physician at an established fertility center. Complete evaluation includes a history, physical examination, semen analysis, and possibly blood tests for hormone or genetic conditions. If you need to see a urologist for a particular situation, your fertility physician will advise you of such.

Male Factor Infertility Options and Success Rates
Recent advances in treatment of male factor infertility have proven to be quite successful. Typically, the severity of the male factor infertility does not factor into the success rate. Often times, the age and the physical status of the woman are more important in determining ultimate pregnancy success. Treatment options for male factor infertility include the following:

  • Washed semen intrauterine insemination (artificial insemination)
  • Oral medications
  • In Vitro Fertilization
  • In Vitro Fertilization with ICSI
Please call us at 1-866-IVF-CHGO for details concerning our latest success rates.
Please feel free to discuss male factor infertility with our fully trained physicians.

Male Factor Infertility - Common Problems
Erectile Dysfunction – As many as 10% of men may experience psychosexual impotence (erectile dysfunction). This condition is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain a sexual erection. This condition can be caused by medications (blood pressure medications, most commonly), hormone imbalances, physical disease, and/or stress. Please feel free to discuss these issues openly with our physicians.

Sperm abnormalities
– Abnormal semen analysis may be associated with infertility. High or low sperm counts, high or low semen ejaculate volume, motility problems, or sperm anatomy problems may be the underlying cause. Two separate semen analyses should be performed in the case of semen abnormalities. Please feel free to discuss these issues with our clinical staff.
Genetics – The importance of genetic evaluation in infertile males with severe oligospermia (sperm counts of less than 5 to 10 million per ejaculate) or non-obstructive azoospermia (absence of sperm in semen not due to blockage) has recently been established. These patients may have abnormalities in the number of chromosome (karyotype) or abnormalities in the structure of the male chromosome (microdeletion of the Y chromosome). Patients with azoospermia as a result of being born without two vas deferens have a mutation of a gene responsible for the disease of cystic fibrosis, but do not have the disease itself. Your physician may order genetic testing in the case of abnormal semen analysis (Reference – American Society of Reproductive Medicine Fact Sheet 8/01).

Obstruction
– Blockage in the tube, which normally allows the sperm to exit the body may account for infertility. This blockage may be from birth or surgical (vasectomy). Your physician may evaluate this condition. Often times with obstruction, sperm can be surgically retrieved, and infertility can be cured.

Retrograde Ejaculation
– Certain conditions are associated with the sperm or ejaculation going into the bladder and not exiting the body. Such conditions include diabetes, nerve conditions, prior surgery, cancers, and genital injury. Your physician may order evaluation of your urine to look for live sperm.

Hormones
– Normal sperm production and sexual function are dependent upon normal hormone environment. A hormone evaluation should be performed if (1) a low sperm concentration is detected, (2) there is impaired sexual function, or (3) there are other signs of hormone disease. Hormone evaluation includes measurement of FSH, testosterone, LH, prolactin, and/or thyroid hormone. Your physician may order a hormone blood test in the case of abnormal semen analysis (Reference – American Society of Reproductive Medicine Fact Sheet 8/01).

Low sperm counts
– Low sperm count is defined as sperm concentration lower than 20 million sperm/mL. In the case of low sperm counts, further testing may be indicated. During the recent years, significant advances have been made in treating low sperm counts. While medications and treatments have generally not found to be effective for raising the sperm count of the man, intrauterine insemination and In Vitro Fertilization have proven to be quite successful in cases of low sperm counts.

Erection Problems
- As many as 10% of men may experience psychosexual impotence (erectile dysfunction). This condition is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain a sexual erection. This condition can be caused by medications (blood pressure medications, most commonly), hormone imbalances, physical disease, and/or stress. Please feel free to discuss these issues openly with our physicians. The following treatments are available for erection problems:

  • Oral medications (Viagra™)
  • Local injections
  • Surgical penile implants
  • Advanced treatments
Please feel to discuss sexual function or erection problems with your physician.




Male Factor Fertility and Hormone Problems
Normal sperm production and sexual function are dependent upon normal hormone environment. A hormone evaluation should be performed if:

  • A low sperm concentration is detected
  • There is impaired sexual function
  • There are other signs of hormone disease
Hormone evaluation includes measurement of FSH, testosterone, LH, prolactin, and/or thyroid hormone. Your physician may order a hormone blood test in the case of abnormal semen analysis.
(ASRM Fact Sheet – 08/01)





Reversal of Vasectomy
As life circumstances change, many men choose to have children after undergoing a vasectomy. There are a couple options available for these couples. They are as follows:

  • Reversal of Vasectomy
  • Needle aspiration of sperm with In Vitro Fertilization
A competent, experienced Urological surgeon should perform reversal of vasectomy. This procedure should be performed with microsurgical technique only after evaluating the female partner. Please Click Here (contact us link) or ask our staff for additional information.

Many couples decide to proceed straight to In Vitro Fertilization. In the case of vasectomy, a fine needle is inserted into the testicle while the gentleman is under anesthesia. This fine needle sample is then used with In Vitro Fertilization for eggs withdrawn from the female partner. Success rates are high. These cases are typically rewarding for the staff. Please click here or feel free to discuss these issues with our staff.

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 E.  Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)


PCOS and Pregnancy
A common reproductive disorder in women is known as “polycystic ovarian syndrome,” or PCOS.
Symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive body hair, weight problems and infertility. The syndrome has been thought to be related to high levels of insulin, which is related to the production of excessive hormones more commonly found in men, such as testosterone. The result can be ovulation disorders. Women with PCOS are also considered prone to other medical problems, such as Type 2 diabetes.

Evidence suggests that PCOS can be managed by reducing circulating levels of insulin, therefore restoring normal reproductive functions. Doctors typically encourage patients to lose weight and improve overall nutrition.

Drugs, approved by the FDA, have also been prescribed to treat PCOS. These “insulin sensitizing agents” have improved the body's response to insulin so that it does not create the chemical excessively. If such agents are less successful at promoting regular ovulation, the drugs are known to boost a woman's response to fertility drugs. Common side effects include gastrointestinal irritation, and the agents are not recommended for patients with kidney, lung, liver or heart disease.

Other drugs, known as antidiabetic agents, have reduced the effects of excessive insulin productions. Liver toxicity is a concern with such agents.

Overall, insulin-sensitizing agents have not been linked to birth defects. They also have little risk of multiple pregnancies, compared with ovulation induction drugs. Many drugs are considered to be in an investigational stage. We encourage any women concerned about PCOS and pregnancy to consult our experts and learn more about individual treatment options.

Metformin (Glucophage) Patient Information
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of infertility. Patients with PCOS often have insulin resistance, which means that your pancreas is producing a large amount of insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. This is called hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia leads to increased levels of androgens in the ovaries. This may directly interfere with ovulation. Metformin is an oral antihyperglycemic agent and has been shown to improve the body’s use of insulin, therefore, decreasing androgen levels and restoring normal ovulatory function.

PRIOR TO TREATMENT: 
You will need the following labs before starting metformin:
  • FASTING BLOOD SUGAR
  • INSULIN LEVEL
  • BUN, CREATININE
  • DHEAS, TESTOSTERONE, 17-OHP
DURING TREATMENT:
It is very important to maintain a proper diet. Weight loss has been demonstrated to decrease androgen levels as well as achieve increased insulin sensitivity. A daily exercise routine is essential to your health, especially during therapy.
Avoid excessive alcohol intake while taking metformin. Alcohol increases your risk of lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis is caused by a build-up of lactic acid in the blood. This condition is rare and occurs mostly in people whose kidneys are not working normally.

HOW TO TAKE METFORMIN:
Metformin comes in 500-mg tablets and is started at once daily for one week, then increased to twice daily for the second week, and then finally three times daily. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not “double up”.

SIDE EFFECTS:
Common side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach fullness, constipation, and heartburn.

GOAL OF THERAPY:
To decrease insulin resistance and androgen levels, establishing the return of normal ovulatory cycles and decreasing the long-term health problems, as well as to eradicate unwanted hirsutism (hair growth), acne, and obesity.

PREGNANCY:
Discontinue metformin with positive pregnancy test. Metformin is pregnancy category “B” indicating that there are no apparent fetal risks based on animal reproductive studies nor any risks associated with use of the drug during the late trimesters of pregnancy. If you are a known diabetic, your obstetrician may continue the drug or switch you over to insulin.

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 F. Embryo Donation

Embryo Donation Program - Questions and Answers

1. If we donate our embryos, is there any cost to us?

No. You will not incur any expenses if you decide to donate your embryos. In fact, you will no longer be responsible for embryo cryopreservation fees.

2. Do we have a say as to who will receive our embryos?


Yes. The donating parents can decide to stipulate general characteristics as to whom they would like their embryos to be received by. Furthermore, the donating parents may stipulate characteristics of whom they do not want their embryos to go. Please understand, the more strict the stipulations, the less likely the embryos will find a qualified recipient couple. Stipulations such as race, religion, and sexual preference are the most common stipulations. Please refer to the embryo donation stipulation agreement.

3. If we ask for our embryos to be donated, are they automatically accepted into the embryo donation program?


No. With respect and sensitivity to all parties, Chicago IVF reserves the right to accept or refuse embryos into the embryo donation program. Commonly, embryos with the following characteristics are not accepted: 
  • If embryos come from an older woman, the likelihood of successful pregnancy is reduced.
  • If the number of embryos is 2 or fewer, it is likely that the embryos will not be chosen.
  • If there is a family history of genetic disorders, it is likely the embryos will not be chosen.
  • Poor quality of embryos will not be accepted.
  • Other medical or genetic disorders may disqualify your embryos.
4. Will we be paid for our embryos?

No. For ethical and legal reasons, you will not be paid for embryos. We do not wish to entice couples to donate their embryos. We strive to provide a legal and ethical vehicle by which those couples who wish to donate their embryos may do so.

5. What are success rates?


Since this technology is new, little has been published in terms of success rates. We expect success rates to be somewhere in the range of standard In Vitro Fertilization and egg donor success rates.

6. If we decide to donate our embryos, do we have to undergo further testing?


When you decide to donate your embryos, you will be asked to fill out a medical and family history questionnaire. Only in the event that your embryos are chosen will you be asked to undergo an additional blood test (hepatitis, HIV, and related studies). There will be no charge to you. The embryo recipient will be responsible to pay for these fees.

7. If our embryos are chosen, will we have legal responsibility for offspring?


According to current law, embryo donors are not legally responsible for offspring from their embryos. You have the option of consulting with an attorney (at an additional cost to you). Please be aware that third party reproduction law is a legal specialty, not all attorneys are well versed in this area. Our staff or the American Bar Association can provide names of attorneys specializing in this area of law.

8. What if the children from embryo donation accidentally reproduce with their siblings (consanguineous reproduction)?


This is a common question asked by embryo, sperm, and egg donors. According to published guidelines and basic statistics, if one couple donates cryopreserved embryos, the chance of accidentally meeting and mating with a sibling is extremely unlikely. For further information regarding this topic, please contact our staff or The American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

9. Will the needy couple receive all of our embryos?


We will follow standard In Vitro Fertilization guidelines for embryo transfer number. In general, two to three high-quality embryos are transferred during the first embryo transfer. Should embryos remain, Chicago IVF reserves the right (but not obligation) to allocate remaining embryos to additional needy families. Ultimately, your generosity will help as many needy families as possible.

10. Why does an infertile couple choose to adopt embryos?


Other options such as additional fertility treatments, childless living, or a child adoption are often expensive and cumbersome or the couple has exhausted their other options. Embryo adoption tends to be less expensive than the other choices and typically embryo adoption is quicker. Ultimately, the couple choosing to adopt an embryo is able to select the basic genetic traits, social and religious backgrounds that they value.

11. When we decide to donate our embryos, are we ever able to get them back?


The choice is yours. If you decide to donate your embryos, you will be given the option to donate permanently or to donate for a five-year period. If you choose the latter option, Chicago IVF will notify you upon the five-year anniversary. At this point, you will be given several choices for embryo disposition, one of which is an additional five years of embryo donation. During your five-year embryo donation period, you will no longer be responsible for cryopreservation fees.

12. Can children born from embryo donation ever find their biological parents?


Embryo donation is an anonymous process. Separate anonymously numbered charts are kept for donor and recipient. Should such a request come to us, appropriate legal means would be utilized in order to protect all parties.

13. How long can human embryos stay frozen?


Animal research has documented that frozen embryos may be thawed and result in successful pregnancies several decades following cryopreservation. Human embryo cryopreservation is a newer process and long-term data is not available.

14. Have there been any reported psychological problems with children born through this method?


Embryo donation is a new technology. Associated issues and concerns have yet to be raised, and certainly no long-term studies are available. One might assume that similar psychological issues associated with child adoption would arise from embryo adoption. Considering all emotional and psychological variables, some couples will prefer to have their embryos adopted by a needy couple as opposed to having them destroyed.

15. If we choose to donate our embryos, what is the next step?
  • Simply call our office so that you may receive the complete Embryo Donation Packet.
  • If you would like to move to the next step, please call and make an appointment or telephone conference with our embryo donation coordinator. Our embryo donation coordinator will guide you through the program and refer you, if you would like, to competent legal experts in this area.
  • You will then complete and sign the embryo donation, stipulation, and consent forms. Your information regarding donated embryos will be offered to needy couples.


 G. Cystic Fibrosis


Cystic Fibrosis and Pregnancy
Pregnancy often is coupled with very difficult decisions, and couples should be aware of genetic disorders. An example of a devastating genetic disorder is cystic fibrosis, or CF. Before attempting to become pregnant, couples should consider testing themselves to determine whether they are carriers of the gene that causes the disease.

The Basics of CF

Cystic fibrosis is rare. Roughly 30,000 people suffer from CF, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It is most commonly found in Caucasian individuals, although all groups can be affected.
CF targets a person's breathing and digestion. It is an inherited disease, during which an abnormal protein blocks the passage of chloride between cells, notably the cells lining the lungs and the pancreas. The result is a thick, sticky mucus secretion that clogs the lungs. In addition, the pancreas is unable to overcome the secretions in order to provide crucial digestive fluids.
CF currently is incurable, although treatments help sufferers survive to about the age of 30. Survival rates fluctuate widely. A couple can be genetically tested for the abnormal gene that causes CF, regardless of whether either individual has a family history of the disease.

Symptoms of CF

Frequent coughing and wheezing can indicate CF, and repeated lung infections may develop over time. Digestive problems are also common among CF patients. Children, for example, might have big appetites but are unable to gain weight. As time passes, symptoms and infections become worse.
With all groups, symptoms vary, and a person should seek the advice of a professional to make any determination.

Treatment

CF patients require close medical supervision and must remain on strict nutritious diets. Some medicines actually do the work of the blocked pancreatic enzymes. In some cases, regular respiratory therapy is required.
Several medications can help a patient breathe easier. Some drugs thin mucus, and others target inflamed tissues.

Who is Likely to Carry the Gene?

Although the disease is rare, one in 31 Americans – or roughly 10 million people – carries the CF gene. Among Caucasians, the chances are increased to 1 in 29 people. For African Americans, the odds are 1 in 65, and for Hispanics, the chances are 1 in 46. Asian Americans have relatively low odds, at 1 in 90.

However, it is worth noting that both parents must carry the gene for a child to be at risk of actually becoming afflicted by the disease, so the actual odds of a Caucasian couple (the most at-risk group) passing on the disease are closer to 1 in 800.
Screening is available to any couple planning pregnancy, or who may be pregnant. A doctor might recommend screening for couples who are considered at-risk, such as those with a family history of the disease.
As with any potential genetic disorder, a couple should consult a medical professional. Chicago IVF can answer your questions and provide you with potential scenarios, as well as guide you with your options.

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 H. Miscarriage



What is a Miscarriage?
A miscarriage, or pregnancy loss, can cause a couple significant grief and sorrow. In addition to the pain of loss, couples are often left questioning the cause of the miscarriage and trying to determine whether to consult a medical professional going forward.
By understanding pregnancy loss occurrence and recurrence, a couple can make better informed decisions. For starters, miscarriage is not rare. Unfortunately, roughly 15 to 20 percent of detectable pregnancies end with a miscarriage. In many cases, the cause of miscarriage is largely unknown. For victims of repeated miscarriages, roughly half of them have no determinable cause.

Authorities on the subject of miscarriage frequently advise couples not to seek further evaluation until three miscarriages have occurred. Couples could be encouraged to know that treatments are considered highly successful, especially if the cause of miscarriage is hormonal or uterine in origin.

Physicians at Chicago IVF can help you diagnose conception problems and outline recommended treatment. Please contact us with any additional questions.

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 I. Blocked Tubes


Blocked Tubes (Hydrosalpinx) Symptoms and Fertility
In some cases, fertilization cannot occur naturally because of blocked tubes, or hydrosalpinx. Although the condition does not rule out conception entirely, medical intervention is usually required.

The term hydrosalpinx refers to a blocked fallopian tube. It occurs when a tube dilates and fills with fluid following a tubal infection. The condition is most frequently related to sexually transmitted diseases. Symptoms include chronic or recurring pelvic pain, although some patients experience no outward symptoms. Infections related to hydrosalpinx can result in fever and pain.
A woman suffering from blocked tubes must undergo medical treatment to conceive. If the tubes are not entirely blocked, a pregnancy can occur once the tubes are surgically reopened. However, in more severe cases, in which the tubes are blocked entirely or the tubes have become damaged, in vitro fertilization is required. IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes entirely. Unfortunately, hydrosalpinx has been known to reduce the success rates of IVF because implanting an embryo in the uterine wall becomes more difficult as fluid from the condition spreads into other areas. Consequently, some physicians recommend removing or clipping the abnormal tube.

Certified personnel at Chicago IVF can help a woman diagnose hydrosalpinx by taking an x-ray image or ultrasound or by inserting a thin, telescopic lens into the abdomen (laparoscopy). Please contact Chicago IVF if you suspect you are suffering from blocked tube symptoms.

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 J. Cervical Factor



Cervical Factor Infertility and Cervical Treatments
Mucus thickness can negatively affect fertility. Conditions, referred to as cervical factor infertility, can be caused by mucus being too light for sperm survival, mucus being too think for sperm survival or mucus containing sperm antibodies. Professionals at Chicago IVF can help determine specific issues and can help you determine the best treatment.
We have listed possible treatment options below:
  • Intra-uterine Insemination, or IUI, is a way to directly transfer sperm into the uterus, bypassing mucus-related cervical factors.
  • Estrogen, provided at low doses, can help a woman produce sperm-friendly mucus.
  • Mucus issues can be related to poor ovulation. Ovulation enhancing methods can promote the proper levels of estrogen and progesterone so that mucus is properly secreted.
  • In vitro fertilization bypasses the cervix entirely.
  • Standard cough medicines can think mucus that is too thick.
  • Certain medications can be limited because they have a negative effect on estrogen levels and mucus production.
  • A woman's body sometimes creates antibodies that attack sperm cells. Abstaining from sperm intake, either through condom use or overall abstinence, can deplete a woman's antibodies and help to promote a better environment for sperm passage.
Please contact Chicago IVF to learn more about cervical factor infertility and treatment options.

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 K. Tubal Ligation Reversal

The process of tubal ligation reversal is more involved than most couples realize. While we certainly hope that you choose Chicago IVF, there are many competent physicians and centers. At a minimum, you should expect (1) details about the training, skill, and experience of your chosen surgeon, (2) complete information on success rates and potential complications, and (3) financial and psychological counseling opportunities. This information should be presented in an easily understood format prior to your undergoing surgery. For appointments and further assistance on tubal reversals, please contact us.


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 L. Endometroisis



Pregnancy Complications Related to Endometriosis
Roughly 10 to 20 percent of women suffer from endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that typically lines a uterus during menstruation is found elsewhere, such as inside the abdominal cavity.
Advanced Reproductive Health Center - Endometriosis- Image provided by Healthbanks.com
During menstruation, a woman's body releases hormones that cause endometrial tissue to shed and discharge. However, when that same tissue is not inside of the uterus, the resulting blood has no place to go and can cause the surrounding tissues to become inflamed and swell, and cysts or scar tissue might form.

When endometriosis occurs in the ovaries or fallopian tubes, fertility complications can occur. Endometriosis is typically found in those places, as well as in ligaments, the outer surface of the uterus and the lining of the pelvic cavity. Less often, it can occur in the intestines, the rectum, the bladder, the vagina, the cervix, the vulva or in abdominal surgery scars.

Surgeries and medications can be used to treat endometriosis and improve a woman's chances of conceiving. Please contact Chicago IVF with any questions about endometriosis and pregnancy complications.

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 M. Medications


Before more drastic measures are considered, doctors often will start patients on a closely monitored regimen of infertility drugs and medications. We have listed some of the most common drugs below, as well as how they work and what side effects could occur. For more thorough descriptions and additional information, please contact Chicago IVF.

Repronex® & Menopur®

These three injected drugs stimulate ovarian follicular development in women who do not ovulate. They are compounds of human hormones produced by the pituitary gland. The compounds are derived from the urine of post-menopausal women, who produce high levels the hormone but have no ovarian function.

Injections are administered early during the menstrual cycle and are continued for up to 10 days so that the follicles can mature.

The compounds are then excreted from the body and leave no long-lasting effects on a woman’s menstrual cycle. Most activities, including sex, can continue during treatments, although women should limit alcohol consumption and use of over-the-counter drugs. A medical professional should be made aware of any additional prescription drugs being taken.

The risk of serious side effects is low. They include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is characterized by ovarian enlargement, abdominal pain and distention, weight gain or circulatory problems. Under these circumstances, hospitalization is required.

Other side effects include ovarian cysts, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating and irritation at the injection site. Multiple births also occur about 20-25 percent of the time.

Gonal-F®, Follistim® & Bravelle®

All of these products produce the same response and risk the same side effects as the ones listed above for Repronex and Menopur. However, they are different in how they are created. Gonal-F and Follistim are not derived from urine. Instead, they are created by genetic recombinant technology.

Lupron, or Leuprolide Acetate

Synthetically produced Lupron indirectly stimulates the hormone that causes ovarian follicle growth. Lupron halts the female’s hormone system so that the production of follicle stimulating and leutinizing hormones is suppressed. The drug is chemically similar to “gonadotropin releasing hormone,” or GnRH. When it enters the pituitary gland, “follicle stimulation hormone,” or FSH, is produced, causing ovulation to occur.

It is an injected drug, most commonly administered when a patient is undergoing a stimulation cycle with the fertility drugs mentioned above.

Possible Lupron side effects include flushing, sweating, mood alteration, breast tenderness or pain, constipation, dizziness, headache, fatigue, irritation at the injection site and vaginal dryness. Side effects are considered temporary and stop once the drug is no longer administered.

Letrozole & Anastrozole

These orally taken drugs induce ovulation in infertile women, largely those who suffer from a deficiency of mucus or underdeveloped endometrial lining caused by clomiphene citrate. Known as “aromatase inhibitors,” are considered an alternative for women hoping to avoid the side effects of clomiphene citrate.

The drugs are still being investigated for side effects but have been shown to leave a woman’s system before pregnancy, lowering any potential for birth defects. A doctor can more thoroughly describe the known risks with patients as this type of drug continues to be investigated.

Progesterone

This hormone, taken either orally, as a vaginal suppository, as a gel or by intramuscular injection, prepares the uterine lining for the implantation of an embryo. The hormone occurs naturally after ovulation and again after pregnancy and works by helping the uterus to retain its endometrium lining.

Side effects are similar to premenstrual symptoms and can include bloating, full breasts, difficulty sleeping, mood swings and fatigue. The suppositories can cause vaginal irritation. Long-term risks can include birth defects when taken during the first four months of pregnancy. However, naturally produced progesterone does not carry the same risk as artificial or synthetic progestational agents.

Parlodel

This orally taken drug reduces elevated prolactin levels that can cause infertility. Side effects can include nasal stuffiness, light-headedness or nausea. Side effects are considered temporary.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hcg), Ovidrel®, Profasi & Pregnyl

These injected drugs, known more commonly as hCG, work with follicle-stimulating hormones during the menstrual cycle to develop and mature the follicles. They are usually taken in addition to a regimen of ovulation-inducing drugs such as Clomid or Follistim.

Side effects can include headaches, irritability, fatigue and pain at the injection site.