Author - Shearn

embryo

Alpha IVF is taking Artificial Intelligence in IVF to the next level

Alpha IVF has been deeply involved in the research & development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the IVF practice since year 2018, with AI innovators from Australia, USA, Denmark, Israel and Poland.

The World’s first AI application for commercial use in IVF was launched by Presagen and Alpha IVF took the lead to offer this new generation application in Malaysia in late 2020. This AI application works as an enhanced tool to assist our physicians and embryologists in selecting the most viable embryo for transfer and Alpha IVF achieved the first healthy live birth following the transfer of embryos selected using AI in South-East Asia (Lim AYX et al, OGSM 2021).

The AI algorithm was built using deep machine learning that identifies traits from a huge and growing number of embryos database from around the world that had previously gone on to bring about successful pregnancies. The AI starts by assessing known components of the embryo that indicate its quality, and at the same time, identifies complex patterns that are too difficult for the human eye to see. AI then combines these different contributions in the right proportion and generate an AI Score. The higher the AI score, the higher the likelihood of implantation.  

In June 2022, Alpha IVF and Presegen (USA & Australia) published a ground-breaking result where a novel AI algorithm called Life Whisperer Genetics was developed to assess the genetic integrity of embryos non-invasively using only images. This study was published in Human Reproduction Journal (Diakiw et al, 2022), bringing new hope to IVF patients. 

The study demonstrated that Life Whisperer Genetics algorithm can predict whether an embryo is genetically normal, or ‘euploid’, where the identification of euploid embryos can result in improved clinical outcomes, such as better chance at pregnancy success.

Medical Director Dato’ Dr Colin Lee said, “Life Whisperer Genetics can be an alternative to help select embryos that are most likely to be euploid in countries like Singapore where genetic screening is not commercially allowed.”

Chief Embryologist Adelle Lim said, “Computer vision with AI may revolutionise IVF treatment and this new technique is another milestone of AI in IVF. The technique will help physicians and embryologists around the world to predict the chromosome status of embryos in a rapid and non-invasive manner enabling the prioritization of embryos that are likely to be euploid for transfer or for further confirmatory PGT testing, leading to a faster time to pregnancy and reducing the cost of the treatment.”

In addition to our in-house embryo selection system, Alpha IVF uses 3 types of AI tools that correlates with embryo viability, euploidy prediction and likelihood of implantation to aid us in selecting the best embryo for transfer so that our patients can achieve a successful pregnancy at the fastest time.

semen analysis

All About Semen Analysis

THE IMPORTANCE OF SEMEN ANALYSIS

Semen analysis - also known as a sperm count or male fertility test - is used to find out if a problem with semen or sperm may be causing a man's infertility. Semen analysis is simple to operate, the laboratory data is accurate, has high clinical reference value and is also the first routine examination to be done for male infertility. The result shows how many sperm are released, as well as how they're shaped and how well they move.

WHEN RECEIVING REPORT, PAYING ATTENTION TO THESE 4 ITEMS

1. Sperm Concentration

The lower range of normal values is when at least 16 million sperm per milliliter (ml) of semen are found. Sperm concentrations above this value are considered "normal".

2. Sperm Motility

This shows the percentage of living(active) sperm present in the sample. It should be at least 42% (at least 42 out of 100 sperm are alive).

3. Sperm Morphology

This shows the physical shape of the sperm. This is done under a high-power microscope. At least 4% of sperm should look normal in order to be considered "normal".

HOW TO PREPARE FOR SEMEN ANALYSIS?

1. Abstain from sex for 3-7 days

The man will need to abstain from sex or masturbation for 3 to 5 days. He will need to ejaculate at least once within 6 to 4 days before the appointment date. If the time is too short, the semen volume and sperm density are not enough; too long a time will lead to a decrease in sperm motility, affecting the accuracy of the examination.

 

It's best to test semen sample that is kept for 3 to 5 days, not lesser or longer.

2. Avoid going when you're unwell

Avoid going for semen analysis when you are unwell or had a heavy alcohol consumption days before. As this could result low sperm count, inactive sperm or dead sperm at this time. Overall, it will also affect the accuracy of the examination

When female infertility is attributed to insufficient ovarian response, leading to poor egg production (e.g. a woman who goes through IVF but her ovaries fail to produce eggs), or when eggs are produced but fail to fertilize properly, a possible solution is egg donation.

When female infertility is attributed to insufficient ovarian response, leading to poor egg production (e.g. a woman who goes through IVF but her ovaries fail to produce eggs), or when eggs are produced but fail to fertilize properly, a possible solution is egg donation. Who needs egg donation? Egg donation is a possible solution

Endo-PRP (Endometrium Rejuvenation)

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is widely used in orthopaedic and sports medicine as well as beauty treatments such as facial rejuvenation and hair restoration.  In recent years, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is being evaluated as a potential treatment for the two most difficult fertility issues: poor uterine/ endometrial lining and receptivity as well as low ovarian function.

What is Endo-PRP?

The endometrium plays a very important role during embryo implantation - a thicker endometrial lining is more likely to receives and provides greater nourishment for an embryo. Endo-PRP is a treatment that relies on your body’s own (autologous) blood plasma enriched with platelets, which contain large number of growth factors — to improve the odds of a successful pregnancy by thickening the endometrial lining, primarily in the treatment of recurrent implantation failure experienced over multiple IVF cycles.

PRP may be very helpful in cases of persistently thin endometrium before the embryo(s) are transferred inside the womb. The presence of chronic inflammation and scarring of the endometrium can make embryo implantation difficult in both natural pregnancy and IVF cycles. Endo-PRP aims to eliminate inflammation and promote the activity of the progesterone receptors that stimulate healthy growth of the endometrium.

Candidates for Endo-PRP

You may be eligible if you:

  • have thin endometrial lining

experienced two or more implantation failures (repeated implantation failure)

ovaprp

The Treatment Process

The process takes approximate 10 minutes and the infusion of the PRP in the endometrium is brief and painless.

Step 1: On the day of the therapy, the PRP process starts by a nurse drawing your blood (10ml) into a PRP blood tube.

Step 2: The blood is centrifuged for about 5-10 minutes.

Step 3: Embryologist will collect the plasma (now concentrated with platelets) in preparation for its infusion.

Step 4: Concentrated PRP will be infused into your uterine cavity with a catheter, and you will be allowed to rest 10-15 minutes post insertion.

How safe is PRP Treatment?

As your own blood (autologous) is used to obtain the PRP, no allergic reactions are expected.

Despite a large backing of current scientific literature, PRP is a treatment to consider alongside your fertility specialist in the treatment of recurrent implantation failure. PRP is still considered experimental and at the forefront of fertility treatment innovation, you are encouraged to discuss your options with our Fertility Specialists at Alpha IVF.

Scientific Evidences

  1. Lin et al. Platelet-Rich Plasma as a Potential New Strategy in the Endometrium Treatment in Assisted Reproductive Technology. Front. Endocrinol 2021;12:707584
  2. Zamaniyan et al. Effect of platelet-rich plasma on pregnancy outcomes in infertile women with recurrent implantation failure: a randomized controlled trial. Gynecological Endocrinology 2021;37(2):1-5
  3. Maleki-Hajiagha et al. Intrauterine infusion of autologous platelet-rich plasma in women undergoing assisted reproduction: A systemic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Reproductive Immunology 2020;137:1-9
  4. Samy et al. Effect of autologous platelet-rich plasma transfusion in the treatment of infertile women with thin endometrium and its implications in IVF cycles: a literature review. Middle East Fertility Society Journal 2020;25:5
  5. Wang et al. Investigation of platelet‐rich plasma in increasing proliferation and migration of endometrial mesenchymal stem cells and improving pregnancy outcome of patients with thin endometrium. J Cell Biochem 2019;120:7403-7411
  6. Kim et al. Effect of Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment on Refractory Thin Endometrium During the Frozen Embryo Transfer Cycle: A Pilot Study. Front Endocrinol 2019;10:61
  7. Nazari et al. Effects of autologous platelet-rich plasma on implantation and pregnancy in repeated implantation failure: A pilot study. International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine 2016;14(10): 625-628

IS EGG FREEZING REALLY A TIME-CONSUMING PROCESS?

IS EGG FREEZING REALLY A TIME-CONSUMING PROCESS? Egg Freezing – officially known as oocyte cryopreservation – has pick some interest and grew popularity within the community; it helps women to ‘buy’ more time for their fertility future, giving them a higher possibility of becoming the biological parent to their child(ren) by using their frozen-thawed eggs. Although it has become such a popular topic over the years, yet egg freezing is still commonly misunderstood with many wrong facts. A common belief is that it is a complicated and time-consuming process. But is that really the case? This process involves a few simple steps such as a consultation with a doctor, returning for check-ups, sending eggs to the laboratory, and freezing the eggs. A short description has been added to each step to help better understand the process and facilitate in decision making. (more…)

Miracle of delayed fertilisation when there is no time to lose. Delayed-ICSI can help women conceive even when time is running out.

Dion’s parents, mother Peggy and father Tim, had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive naturally for some years because of persistent fertility problems. Peggy was already 38 and had almost given up hope. She was also running out of eggs. “With us marrying in our thirties and having our careers to focus on, we began to think about having a baby quite late on in life, probably around the time when I was 35,” said Peggy. “After three barren years, we visited an O&G specialist in the town where we live. We had been to several doctors beforehand but none of them could work out why I couldn’t conceive. The O&G specialist told us that the natural method clearly hadn’t been working and she advised us to undergo IVF treatment to give us a better chance.” (more…)

DATO’ SRI SITI NURHALIZA’S HEARTWARMING JOURNEY TO MOTHERHOOD WITH ALPHA IVF & WOMEN’S SPECIALISTS

It took 11 years for Malaysia’s pre-eminent singer, Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin, to become a mother. After more than a decade of dashed hopes, Siti Nurhaliza finally fell pregnant in 2017, and announced her news to the press during her fourth month of pregnancy after the fifth cycle of IVF done at Alpha IVF & Women’s Specialists. The adorable baby girl Siti Aafiyah weighing 3.55kg was delivered via C-section on March 19, 2018 at 8.17am at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur. “When I went for the first cycle of treatment, I wasn’t too strict on myself. After the transfer of the embryo to the uterus, I resumed my daily activities and didn’t restrict my movements,” she said. “But after several failed attempts, I realised that my body was fragile and I should be more focused on being extra-careful throughout the process. On top of that, I couldn’t wait much longer because I wasn’t young anymore.” On 1st December 2020, Siti Nurhaliza again revealed that she is pregnant with her second child via a virtual press conference after Siti Aafiyah is two-year-old, which is due around April/May 2021. (more…)

SAVIOUR SIBLING PROGRAMME AND DIRECT HLA TYPING FACT SHEET

 WHAT IS BETA THALASSEMIA? Beta thalassemia is a genetic blood condition whereby the body produces less haemoglobin, an iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Beta thalassemia occurs most frequently in people from Mediterranean countries, Middle East and Central Asia. Beta thalassemia major is the beta most severe form of thalassemia, it is caused by two copies of mutated HBB gene. If it is left untreated, the affected child may have an enlarged spleen, liver and heart. Their bones may also become thin. Symptoms usually develop in the first 2 years of life. They may have: (more…)

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EGG FREEZING

WHAT IS EGG FREEZING?

Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation is a procedure in which the eggs from a woman are retrieved, frozen, and stored for future use. The frozen eggs can later be thawed, fertilized, and transferred into the uterus when desired.

Vitrification is the latest method for freezing eggs and the survival rates using vitrification are much higher compared to previous freezing methods like slow freezing. With recent major improvement in the vitrification solutions, such as Cryotec method with certain distinct advantages over all other existing methods of vitrification, egg freezing has become a viable and common option to preserve a women reproductive age.

WHEN SHOULD I FREEZE MY EGGS?

The simple answer is to pursue egg freezing in the prime reproductive years, before 35 years old to take advantage of premium egg quality and quantity. Think of the egg retrieval process and cryopreservation as you would a fall harvest. A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have, and over time they diminish in number and cellular integrity.

After 43 years of age, it is usually not recommended to freeze eggs, because the quality of eggs is too poor and the probability of chromosomal abnormalities is high. Do discuss with your fertility specialist to better understand your chance based on your own personal conditions.

(more…)

Factors Determine IVF Success Rates

Age The age of the woman is the main factor affecting the success of an IVF. This is because the quality and the quantity of a woman’s eggs reduce as she grows older. Hence, as age increases, the IVF success rate drops. From 24 to 35, women have the highest chances of success with IVF treatment because this is the age range when women are most fertile. (more…)
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