Saturday, March 14, 2009

SIRM's New CGH-Risk Sharing Plan = Increased IVF success rates!

How interesting.... The Sher Institutes of Reproductive Medicine (SIRM), otherwise known as SHER, announced on March 9, 2009 the the world’s first CGH-Risk Sharing Plan that guarantees qualified IVF patients a baby or offers a full refund of the clinic’s medical fees. Read more here.

What is CGH?
Well, the article above does a good job of describing what it is, however, I'd like to elaborate. CGH testing is supposed to be better than Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which in the past was "the" way to detect chromosomal abnormalities. CGH is better than PGD is because they test for these chromosomal abnormalities at the embryonic stage, rather than testing just the egg (which is what PGD does), allowing them to catch defects in the embryos and transfer only the most viable ones. The somewhat new process of vitrification (the process they use to cryopreserve/freeze and thaw eggs or embryos), vs. the old and more widely used "slow-freezing" method helped to pave the way to improving this process. SHER clinics have been using this vitrification technique for quite some time now and together, with CGH, it's looks as though it could really greatly improve future IVF success rates. For more technical info on how this has all come about, check out this article written by Dr. Geoffrey Sher of the SIRM, back in early 2007. Additionally, here is a video on CGH from '07 that explains the impact it can have on success rates. As you'll see they've been working towards this for quite a long time. Personally, I think that if SIRM is willing to offer this money-back guarantee, they must have quite a lot of faith in it's success.

What does that mean for us?
Well, I'm not exactly sure just yet. Bare minimum it means that without a doubt our chances for IVF success rates per transfer go up significantly. In turn, that would mean we would need less tries, or transfers, to achieve success and bring home a baby! I suspect that the cost for this plan is fairly high... maybe as high as SHER's 3-cycle refund plan, however, it might be better to go this route because of those benefits.

As usual, I hate to get all worked up. But, I was definitely super excited to stumble on this today. We both were. We agreed, the more things you can do prior to transfer (and after for that matter) to up your chances, the better. Which means, pursuing CGH is probably very real for us. Especially since PCOS women are know for producing questionable quality eggs, which in turn often result in embryos that are less than perfect quality. My instinct is that this would help to counter act that.

How the CGH-Risk Sharing Plan would work?
The article goes on to say.... "If the patient does not have a baby after all her CGH-normal embryos (from the same IVF egg retrieval) are used up, she will be eligible for a full refund of SIRM’s medical services, as well as for a second try should she so choose. Moreover, if following stimulation with fertility drugs the participant does not produce at least 5 ovarian follicles, she can elect to opt out of the plan and convert to fee-for-service IVF."

I've e-mailed Dr. Ahlering to see if he thinks we'd be good candidates for this and to get some additional info about costs. I'm excited to hear back and will fill you in when I hear more!

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