Technology is Helping Older Women Have Safer Pregnancies2018-12-13T12:04:38-07:00

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By Jessica Miles
KSTP.com and Channel 5 ABC

Nov. 17, 2015 (KSTP.com) — As women pursue careers and put child-bearing on the back burner, more couples are needing help becoming pregnant.

But technology that continues to improve year after year is taking age out of the equation, allowing older women to have safer pregnancies.

Leah and Ricardo have been married for 4 1/2 years, and they’ve been trying to have a baby ever since.

But at 39 years old, they know the deck isn’t exactly stacked in Leah’s favor.

“We’re almost going through anything we can to do it,” Ricardo Tototzintle said.

It’s why they are at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine’s Edina location seeing Dr. April Batcheller. They’re in the process of in-vitro fertilization, but with this couple, there’s a twist: they’re choosing to transfer only one embryo.

“In the past, it’s been really common for patients to be enthusiastic about transferring multiple embryos because they want to improve their chances of success,” Dr. April Batcheller said.

But, multiple embryos also increases the risk of twins and triplets, which Batcheller says can result in early deliveries and complications.

It’s why she offers comprehensive chromosome screening in her office.

“We’re screening embryos to make sure they have the correct number of chromosomes,” she said.

She then implants only one normal embryo. She says it essentially takes the age factor out of pregnancy.

“By screening the embryos to determine their chromosome compliment, we are putting women on a level playing field regardless of their age,” she said.

“We’re really excited about the opportunities that we’ve been given here and our success rates,”  Leah Tototzintle said.

Leah will have eggs retrieved in the next several days, the embryos will then be grown in a lab and tested to make sure they are normal, and if all goes well she hopes to be pregnant in early January.

“It’s like, wow, this time next year we can have a child,” Ricardo said.

For Leah and Ricardo, it’s been a long journey, but one they finally feel is working for them.

“I want a family and I want a healthy baby. I think we’re at the point where it’s becoming very real and that’s exciting,” Ricardo said.

Batcheller says the results have been good, with 60-65 percent of single embryo transfers resulting in pregnancy.

Insurance companies are also seeing the benefits; Leah and Ricardo say their insurance is paying for much of the roughly $25,000 bill.

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