Ivm - - A New Infertility Treatment Option For Women With Pcos

by Anna Short - Date: 2010-08-06 - Word Count: 374 Share This!

Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) have an imbalance in their hormonal systems -- in particular, too many androgens (male hormones). It is no wonder then that these women can have trouble ovulating and getting pregnant. Most of the therapies for women with PCOS syndrome involve using drugs in an attempt to reset the hormonal balance and promote ovulation. While this approach helps many women conceive with PCOS, not all respond well to the drug regimens.

If you are one of the many women with PCOS syndrome and have had little luck with conventional drugs intended to promote ovulation, there's some relatively new science that can help. Initially this new ART technique was aimed at helping women undergoing cancer treatments who wanted to preserve unaffected eggs, but it's widest application will likely be helping women with PCOS to get pregnant.

What is this new technology? It's called In Vitro Maturation (IVM). It differs only slightly from the more common In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure, but that small difference means a great deal.

In IVF, a woman's eggs are matured with hormonal drugs injected over a number of days prior to surgically retrieving the eggs for fertilization with sperm under laboratory conditions. Once the mature eggs are fertilized and allowed to develop a bit further, those fertilized embryos (really "blastocysts" made up of only a few cells at this stage) are injected into the woman's womb.

For some women with PCOS this traditional approach has worked. But, not all women with PCOS can produce mature eggs, even with the various injectable drug protocols available. In IVM, eggs are harvested from the ovaries at the early follicular stage of development and then matured in the lab for one to two days before the fertilization process. After fertilization, the process is the same as any IVF procedure. Blastocysts are allowed to develop and then are introduced into the woman's uterus.

On final benefit worth noting -- though it seems that IVM is adding a step to the process by maturing the eggs in a lab, the fact that injectable drugs are not used for stimulating ovulation means that IVM is actually cheaper than IVF. Perhaps it will even become the protocol of choice for couples with infertility caused by something other than PCOS.

Related Tags: pcos and infertility, hormone infertility, conceiving with pcos, pregnant pcos

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