CCRM has pioneered a paradigm shift in IVF technology. First, we developed sequential culture media to successfully grow embryos to the blastocyst stage (day 5 or 6). We have further shown that blastocyst stage embryos have markedly higher implantation rates compared to day 3 embryos. Secondly, we pioneered comprehensive chromosomal screening (testing all 46 chromosomes of the embryo at the blastocyst stage), and have shown that this further improves the success of IVF, while at the same time lowering miscarriage rates. A third breakthrough was the ability to successfully vitrify (rapid freezing method) these blastocysts after biopsy with a greater than 98% survival rate. As we began transferring these frozen and thawed chromosomally normal blastocysts, we found pregnancy rates were higher than we had ever achieved with IVF, and at the same time miscarriage rates were very low, resulting in significantly higher live birth rates for women even in their early forties.
There are improved techniques for growing and selecting the best quality embryos so that only one embryo is transferred, rather than two or more, to minimize the risk of multiple births for women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) without compromising the chance of a successful pregnancy.
CCRM’s ultimate goal is to help our patients achieve successful singleton pregnancies. Although, twins or “multiples” might seem ideal for those undergoing IVF, the fact is this scenario poses significant risks for both the mother and children, such as pre-eclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, maternal mortality, miscarriage, gestational diabetes, as well as pre-term labor.
In concordance with research at CCRM, studies from around the world have shown that in vitro fertilization pregnancies following a frozen embryo transfer are more similar to natural conception pregnancies than fresh embryo transfer cycles resulting in:
Only recently has infertility been recognized and classified as a real disease that needs dedicated research and funding to fight it and find a cure.
As part of his legacy, Dr. Schoolcraft brought together leading researchers in the field of reproductive medicine to create the National Foundation for Fertility Research (NFFR), a nonprofit, publicly-funded, highly motivated research team to fight this disease.