At EMBRYOCLINIC we join forces to provide quality of care and fertility services customized to our patients. We are committed to effectiveness, safety and excellence. EmbryoClinic’s Medical Team was established in 1999 and its extensive experience is a guarantee for success in an ethical and safe environment.
Cutting edge medical technology is used and current medical protocols applied in accordance to the latest international guidelines.
is becoming more and more popular. The benefits of seeking options away from home include:
1. Treatment Cost
2. Donor options
3. Perception of better IVF success rates abroad
4. Seeking treatment in a less stressful environment
Specifically in Greece,
There are good fertility regulations
Fertility treatment in Greece is less expensive than in the UK.
There are often shorter waiting lists and access to a higher number of donors.
The cost of living in Greece, as well as travel and accommodation costs, is fairly low.
How does the process work at EmbryoClinic?
EmbryoClinic’s international co-ordinator will ask you to fill out a medical questionnaire on your fertility history and type of treatment desired.The initial free consultation will follow, via Skype, with the co-ordinator and a fertility doctor, who will discuss your medical case, assess your options and may ask for more tests to be carried out.If you decide to proceed, a new appointment will be arranged for an on-site consultation.
It will take place in Embryoclinic Thessaloniki, where you will meet the co-ordinator, who will be your contact person during your treatment, alongside the medical director. After all necessary examinations, you will be informed in great detail about your personal fertility treatment plan and next steps to take.
During your treatment, the co-ordinator will be available to answer your questions, manage your appointments and discuss with the doctor all your case details. They will also inform you about how many times you will need to travel to Greece and how many days you will need to stay.
The sperm donor has no legal rights or responsibilities to any children born with their sperm. This means they won’t be named on the birth certificate, won’t be required to provide financial support and won’t have any rights over how the child will be brought up. EmbryoClinic’s legal team is happy to clarify any other legal concerns you may have on sperm donation.
EmbryoClinic collaborates with certified sperm banks abroad, which meet strict criteria regarding the safety and effectiveness of their genetic material. If you are considering sperm donation, get in touch!
Semen analysis constitutes the first examination in assessing male fertility. The sample should be collected after a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 5 days of sexual abstinence. The whole sample should be collected in a clean, wide-mouthed container, in a private room near the laboratory. The sample may be collected at home under exceptional circumstances, must be delivered to the laboratory within 1 hour, and maintained at body temperature during transfer. Semen analysis includes macroscopic and microscopic analysis of the sample by recording the following parameters:
The volume of the sample,
The pH of the sample,
The number of spermatozoa in the sample (semen concentration),
The movement of the cells (sperm motility),
The morphology of the cells and
The presence of other round cells in the sample
The test results will be ready within one day. A normal result indicates that there is a sufficient number of spermatozoa with good motility enabling it to travel towards an egg and normal morphology to fertilize it. Nevertheless, a normal result does not guarantee fertility. Moreover, variance from the reference values does not necessarily indicate infertility. It is worth mentioning that the volume and quality of sperm is not always the same with each ejaculation.
Semen analysis is performed in accordance with internationally accepted principles of the World Health Organization (World Health Organization. WHO Laboratory Manual for the Examination and Processing of Human Semen, in 5th ed. 2010.).
Finally, the treating physician should be informed regarding medications, illness, etc, as it may have negative effects on semen quality.
For further information or if you wish to arrange an appointment you can contact us to +30 2310-420020 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Endometrial polyps are benign and often asymptomatic growths of the lining of the womb, affecting between 11% and 45% of women. Polyps can alter the micro-environment of the womb and interfere with sperm/egg movement, fertilisation and implantation. Endometrial polyps are also the most commonly detected abnormality (16.7 %) in patients with recurrent implantation failures after IVF.
In this article we talk about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of endometrial polyps to increase your chances of pregnancy.
What are endometrial polyps?
Endometrial polyps are growths that occur in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus. They are attached to the endometrium and extend inward into the uterus. The size ranges between a few millimetres to a few centimetres. The reason why some polyps develop is not clear, but researchers believe it may be related to hormone levels.
You are more likely to have endometrial polyps if you are overweight, obese, have high blood pressure or are taking a medicine called tamoxifen.
What are the symptoms of endometrial polyps?
If you have endometrial polyps, you may have the following symptoms:
Irregular or unpredictable periods
Unusually heavy periods
Bleeding or spotting between periods
Diagnosing endometrial polyps
During routine investigations prior to treatment for infertility, an ultrasound scan will be able to identify if you have endometrial polyps.
Your doctor will start by asking you about your menstrual cycles, how long they last, how heavy is the flow or any unusual symptoms you may be experiencing. The doctor may perform a transvaginal ultrasound, where a small device is inserted in the vagina to check for uterus abnormalities. The doctor may also suggest inserting sterile fluid into the uterus, which will allow for a clearer image of the uterus.
After the ultrasound, the doctor may suggest a hysteroscopy to help diagnose or treat polyps. During this procedure, a small camera is inserted through the vagina into the uterus to give an image of the inside of your uterus. The doctor may do a biopsy of the uterus lining or remove the polyp using special instruments.
Treating endometrial polyps
If you don’t have any symptoms, you may not need to treat the endometrial polyp. However, if you have heavy periods, bleeding in between periods, if the polyp is affecting your ability to get pregnant or stay pregnant, it should be removed.
Your doctor may suggest some of these treatments:
Medications to help regulate the hormonal balance and help relieve symptoms.
Hysteroscopy in which a camera is inserted in the vagina through to the uterus and the polyp is removed using special instruments.
Endometrial Polyps and Fertility
Up to 25% of women with unexplained infertility have endometrial polyps diagnosed on hysteroscopy.
Researchers believe polyps can cause infertility due to interference with sperm and embryo transport, embryo implantation, or altered endometrial receptivity. The size, number, or location of polyps may also contribute to the outcome.
Several research studies reported that after having polyps removed, more than 90% of women had their menstrual cycles normalised and spontaneous pregnancy increased to 61%.
If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of endometrial polyps or have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, contact our clinical team.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) is produced and released in the anterior pituitary gland. This hormone is considered a gonadotrophic hormone because of its role in controlling the female and male reproductive system.
What does Luteinising Hormone (LH) do?
LH has several functions regulating the reproductive cycle:
Stimulates the ovaries to produce estradiol
Causes the ovaries to release an egg during ovulation
Stimulates the corpus luteum to produce progesterone to sustain pregnancy
How is Luteinising Hormone (LH) measured?
Luteinising Hormone (LH) can be measured in blood as requested by your doctor. It can also be measured in urine, using ‘ovulation tests’ which you can buy over the counter without a prescription.
You may need several tests to notice a pattern throughout the menstrual cycle. You may notice fluctuations and a surge, which happens just before ovulation. Normal LH values are:
Follicular phase: 1.68 to 15 IU/L
Midcycle peak: 21.9 to 56.6 IU/L
Luteal phase: 0.61 to 16.3 IU/L
Detecting Ovulation with Luteinising Hormone (LH)
You can measure LH levels to detect ovulation. Levels will increase 36 hours before the egg is released from the ovary, giving an indication of the best time to conceive. Your fertile window includes the 5 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation.
Abnormal Luteinising Hormone (LH) values
It is normal for LH values to fluctuate throughout the cycle.
If you have very low values and don’t see a midcycle surge, you may not be ovulating. It may be related to a pituitary disorder, anorexia, malnutrition, or stress. If you have very high values, you may have PCOS, a pituitary disorder or be in menopause.
If you are concerned about your Luteinising Hormone (LH) values, contact us.
If you are planning to have children later in life, you are not alone. More and more people are choosing to prioritise their careers and work life. This gives them the financial freedom to buy a house, find a partner and then have children. However, having children later in life is not always straightforward. In fact, fertility declines with age, and some people delaying parenthood may find it hard to get pregnant.
Fertility preservation is a new technique that allows people to freeze their eggs and sperm when they are young and use them later when they feel ready to build their families. In this article we talk about fertility preservation so you can decide if it’s right for you.
What is Fertility Preservation?
Fertility preservation involves freezing and storing sperm, eggs or embryos with the intent of using them to have children later in life. This is an option for people who don’t want children right now, or to those who become infertile due to illness or treatment (like cancer and chemotherapy).
What is the best age to freeze eggs or sperm?
Research shows the highest live birth rates from own frozen eggs are from women who have frozen eggs before they were 30. These eggs are likely of better quality, improving chances when you decide to use them.
However, HFEA data shows most women freeze their eggs around 37. This is a concern because this is the age when fertility starts declining. If you want to guarantee better quality eggs and higher chance of live birth rates, it is better to freeze before you reach 36.
As sperm quality also declines with age, it is recommended you freeze sperm before you reach 36.
What does fertility preservation involve?
Freezing sperm is relatively easy. The process involves masturbation and collecting semen. If there is a condition where masturbation is not possible, sperm can also be collected surgically. Sperm collected is frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored for future use in a process known as cryopreservation.
The egg freezing process is a bit more complex than sperm, as it involves a surgery to remove the eggs from the ovaries. Each month, a woman produces a single mature egg. However, for egg freezing, a woman needs to stimulate her ovaries to produce several eggs. This is achieved with daily injections of FSH over a period of 10 to 14 days. Once the follicles have reached an adequate size, the woman injects GnRHa to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation and encourage the eggs to mature. These eggs will be collected 36 to 40 hours later, via a surgical procedure and under guidance of an ultrasound. You will be under sedation or general anaesthetic for this procedure. After the procedure, you may notice some vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramps. This is a minimally invasive procedure and the risks are less than 1 in 1000, but include bleeding, bowel or bladder perforation and possible infection. The eggs collected will be frozen for future use.
How many sperm and eggs should I freeze?
Man produce a lot of sperm in each ejaculate. Sperm counts vary from about 20 million to 100 million sperm cells per ml of ejaculate. Healthy men produce from 1.5 ml to 5 ml of semen each time they ejaculate. So, a healthy sperm sample or two will be enough to freeze.
When it comes to eggs, it’s a bit more challenging. Research shows, that a 34-year-old woman needs to freeze 10 eggs for a 75% chance of having a baby. If the woman is 37, she needs to freeze 20 eggs for that same chance. And when she reaches 42, she needs to freeze 61 eggs for those 75% chance of having a baby.
This increase accounts for the egg quality that reduces as women age and the fact that not all eggs retrieved will survive the process of being frozen, thawed, fertilized, develop into an embryo and implant in the uterus.
The number of eggs collected in each stimulation cycle also varies. This is affected by the woman’s age, the ovarian reserve and how her body responds to the stimulation. Some women may produce 15 eggs in one cycle whist other may need several cycles to reach that number.
What are the chances of success?
Once collected, not all eggs, sperm and embryos survive the freezing and thawing process. One of the reasons is related to the freezing methods: Slow freezing or Flash freezing.
The process of slow freezing takes a couple of hours, until the final storing temperature is reached. On the other hand, the most recent method of flash freezing (or vitrification) is much quicker, preventing ice crystals and avoiding trauma to the egg, embryo or blastocyst.
Flash freezing seems to have better chances of success once the eggs, sperm and embryos are thawed to be used. Embryos have a 95% freeze-thaw survival rate (compared to 50% survival with slow freezing). This is also a better technique for egg freezing which have an over 90% freeze-thaw survival rate (compared to the approximately 66% survival rate of eggs during slow freezing).
Having children later in life
If you are young and not ready to have children right now, but want to have them later, it may be worth it to consider fertility preservation. It’s not an absolute guarantee but it gives you more options to plan for a family. Speak with your doctor about your situation. You may also speak with a counsellor who can help you reflect on the procedure and implications, so you can make an informed choice.
Infertility is a physically and emotionally draining struggle for many couples. However focusing on positivity in the face of fertility challenges can provide major benefits.
IMPROVEMENT OF YOUR OWN HEALTH AND WELL BEING
Infertility takes a toll, especially if it’s been a lifelong struggle.
It is generally accepted that infertility can worsen stress, anxiety and depression as well as cause anger, sadness and social isolation.
A STRENGTHENED RELATIONSHIP WITH ANY PARTNER YOU MAY HAVE
Infertility can put a damper on romance when partners adhere to a strict intimacy schedule to increase their chances of getting pregnant. This routineness and lack of spontaneity may lead to a decrease in desire for your partner or sexual problems like erectile dysfunction.
Additionally, one partner may blame the other for infertility or the relationship may suffer from increased stress levels. Remaining positive may alleviate some of these relationship issues.
MAXIMIZATION OF THE CHANCE OF GETTING PREGNANT
Reducing stress, anxiety and depression won’t necessarily make you pregnant, nor is there a clear-cut cause and effect between poor mental health and infertility.
Fertility problems are much more likely caused by a complex mixture of biological, genetic, environmental and mental factors. However, poor mental health may negatively affect fertility in ways we don’t yet understand, and there is no harm in thinking positively.
REFUSE TO BE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY
Many times, infertile couples will be overly pessimistic about their situation to avoid getting their hopes up each time they get one step closer to pregnancy. This may be especially true for couples who have been through one or more miscarriages.
While it may seem prudent to remind yourself of success rates and the possibility that you won’t get pregnant, this may be doing more harm than good. After all, in 2015 “the chance of having a live birth per ART cycle” ranged from 5.8 to 46 percent according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depending on factors like age, source of the egg and whether the embryo was fresh or frozen.Those aren’t insignificant numbers! Allowing yourself to envision the possibility of a family can be a positive experience if you don’t shame yourself for your optimism.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
One of the biggest mistakes people make when struggling with fertility is succumbing to negative self-talk. You may recognize some of your own thoughts in the following phrases:
It’s my fault I can’t conceive.
If I wasn’t so irresponsible with my health, I could get pregnant.
I am letting my partner down.
My body is a bad body.
I am a failure as a man/woman.
Maybe I’m just not meant to have kids.
I will never have a child.
If a friend or even a stranger shared these feelings with you, would you blame them for infertility or console them? Almost certainly the latter. Now consider this: what’s the difference between that friend or stranger and yourself?
Nothing at all!
Next time you talk negatively to yourself, imagine you are saying the same thing to a friend, stranger or even yourself as a young child. It will be much harder to insult yourself and you might start thinking more positively as a result
BLOCK OUT NEGATIVITY
At times, negative thoughts about infertility will surface suddenly. The key to positivity is stopping your negative thoughts before they affect your emotions.
Redirect your attention from these thoughts by introducing a distraction. This could be a physical reminder, like gently snapping a hairband on your wrist, or a mental process, like grounding yourself by focusing your full attention on your five senses. Other tactics include letting your thoughts “float by” without dwelling on them or diving into another activity, such as a chore you’ve been putting off.
That being said, it’s unnecessary (and often unhealthy) to repress your feelings in the long-term. Try setting these feelings aside for a private moment of reflection, perhaps when you’re taking a shower or bath, or a conversation with your partner. This way, you are still processing your emotions without letting them control your life.
COPE WITH CURRENT EMOTIONS
Maybe you cannot help but feel sad, angry or resentful. That’s okay – people have natural variations in their mental states, and for some, their brain chemistry can make it more challenging to be positive during the hard times. If you find yourself struggling with your emotions, these solutions may help:
Exercise – Even a small amount of regular exercise, like walking, can improve your mood.
Practicing mindfulness – Meditation and stress-reducing exercises like yoga and tai chi can help you let go of tension.
Journaling – Writing down your feelings is an effective way to get worrying thoughts out of your head and onto paper. This exercise may make it easier to process and come to terms with confusing emotions.
Psychotherapy – A mental health professional can help guide you through any negative emotions or mental health issues you may have and give you the tools to manage your mental health.
Group therapy – Knowing others are going through the same struggle can help you feel less isolated and build your sense of community.
You are not alone in your struggle with fertility. One in six couples will experience some degree of infertility.
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK. It happens when the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis often reduces the woman’s ability to get pregnant. In this article we talk about endometriosis, symptoms, treatments and how you can increase your chances of getting pregnant.
“What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis happens when the uterus lining grows outside the uterus and affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes and sometimes can spread to other organs. It is an inflammatory disease dependent on oestrogen and the tissue will continue to respond to hormones just like it would in the uterus: it thickens, sheds and bleeds every menstrual cycle.
Women with endometriosis may feel no symptoms or may have chronic pelvic pain, painful intercourse, pain with urination and bowel movements, and often experience infertility. Because the inflammatory disease depends on oestrogen produced by the ovaries, it usually affects women aged 25 to 35.
What causes Endometriosis?
The cause for endometriosis is not known but several theories have been reported. These include:
• Retrograde menstruation: when the endometrial tissue is transported backwards, through the fallopian tubes into the abdominal cavity.
• Coelomic metaplasia: when other undifferentiated cells in the peritoneum become endometrial cells.
• Altered immunity: preventing women from clearing the endometrial cells that appear in retrograde menstruation.
• Stem cells: other cells in the body differentiate into endometrial cells.
• Genetics: women who have a first degree relative affected by endometriosis have a 7 times higher risk of developing it.
What are the symptoms?
Sometimes endometriosis presents no symptoms. But frequently, women have:
• Painful periods
• Painful intercourse
• Pain with bowel movements or urination
• Heavy periods of bleeding in between periods
• Women may also feel fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or nausea.
The diagnosis is mostly done through surgery when the doctor introduces a camera into the abdomen and collects samples of tissue for analysis.
How is Endometriosis treated?
There is no cure for endometriosis, but symptoms can be relieved through medication or surgery. Surgery focuses on removing lesions, which reduces pain and can also improve fertility. Endometriosis often recurs and ongoing medication and multiple surgeries may be required to relieve the symptoms over time.
How does Endometriosis affect fertility?
Around 30 to 50% of women with endometriosis have infertility. The reasons why only some women with endometriosis experience infertility aren’t clear, but research has been presenting several reasons:
• The inflammation and pelvic adhesions cause a mechanical problem, making it harder for the egg to be released, for the sperm to find its way to the egg, impair fertilization and the transport of the embryo into the uterus.
• Another reason may be related to a deficiency of a protein in the uterus. It has been found that women with endometriosis have lower levels of a molecule called HDAC3 in the uterus. This molecule is important for implantation and preparation of the uterus for pregnancy.
• Other possible causes are being explored like inflammatory cytokines, growth factors and genes.
Women with minimal to mild endometriosis have an almost normal chance of conception. As endometriosis worsens, scar tissue (adhesions) become more common and the chance of natural conception can decrease. A study revealed these chances of pregnancy over 3 years are lower for women with severe endometriosis (36%) than to those with unexplained infertility (55%). Some studies have suggested that women with more advanced endometriosis also have poor ovarian reserve, low egg and embryo quality, and poor implantation.
Endometriosis and Getting Pregnant
Most women with mild to moderate endometriosis will be able to conceive without any medical or surgical intervention. In cases of moderate to severe endometriosis, medical or surgical interventions may be the best way forward. As endometriosis is oestrogen dependent, some hormonal medications may be helpful to manage pain. These, however, have not been found to improve fertility, unless you are undergoing IVF. In this case, prolonged treatment with GnRHa before IVF can improve fertility rates. Surgery to remove cysts, adhesions and nodules has also been found to be effective and increase chances of conception.
Crossing borders and having fertility treatment abroad is becoming increasingly popular.
In study by Fertility Network UK, 93% of people trying to conceive would consider going abroad, and those who had been abroad for fertility treatment, would go back again.1
The main reason for IVF abroad is related to cost, as patients look for affordable treatment. Others turning to healthcare tourism are looking for egg or sperm donation, have had previous unsatisfactory care in the UK or perceive better success rates for IVF abroad. Several patients are also looking for treatment in a less stressful environment.
If you are considering IVF abroad, check out our 5 tips for healthcare tourism when trying to conceive.
1. IVF Abroad: Choosing a Country
Certain countries are known to have good fertility regulations while maintaining a high quality of care at reduced cost. Make sure the country you chose has fertility friendly laws and strong governing bodies that regulate healthcare professionals’ activities and clinics. The most popular destinations for fertility treatment abroad are Greece, Spain, Czech Republic and Cyprus. In Europe, look for clinics who follow the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology guidelines (ESHRE).
2. Which Clinic?
Take time to get to know the clinic and the team who will be treating you. Start by searching and engaging with the clinic online. Check they have the right certifications, are renowned in this field and recognised by others. You can also check patients’ feedback in several forums.
Most clinics offer consultations via Skype or even in person in the UK. This is essential to learn about their services, how they can help you and learn about what the process involves.
Patients going abroad for fertility treatment are usually attracted to the high standard of care provided and the person-centred and individual approach which is so important when trying to conceive.
3. Treatment: high standards, low cost
Healthcare tourism and fertility treatment abroad is usually less expensive than in the UK. You can find well established fertility clinics, with good success rates up to 50% cheaper. There is usually shorter waiting lists and access to a higher number of donors.
Check if the clinic offers the treatment you need and how much it costs. It is also important to ask about emotional support as this is an important part of treatment.
Most clinics abroad also have patient coordinators who speak several languages and are available to answer questions, manage appointments, book travel and deal with all day-to-day practicalities. They will look after you before, during and after treatment and make sure the process runs smoothly.
4. Travel and Accommodation
Once you have chosen a clinic, check the cost of living in that particular area and account for travel and accommodation costs. Some clinics may have special deals with local hotels. Even adding these costs, fertility treatment and IVF abroad might be cheaper than in the UK.
Ask your clinic how many times you will need to travel there and how many days you need to stay. Most tests, exams and consultations can be done in the UK and you only need to travel for the procedure itself. The clinic may be able to help you organise your travel or you can do it yourself using websites like Booking.com and Skyscanner.net
5. Trying to conceive in the perfect scenery
Most patients seeking treatment abroad are also looking for a less stressful environment. This is the opportunity to break from routine and enjoy the beautiful scenery alongside low-cost treatment. It can help you focus on treatment without having to worry about day to day things, keep you distracted, and even reconnect with yourself and your partner.
If you have been trying to conceive and are now thinking about IVF Abroad, you are joining those 93% of people who feel attracted to high standards of care, at more attractive prices, with shorter waiting lists and a complete medical team concerned with making you feel comfortable and safe. Our 5 tips will get you started so you can get the fertility treatment you need in the most perfect location. Check out EmbryoClinic and how we can help you in your journey of fertility treatment abroad.
In today’s society, there is a remarkable delay of early family formation. Modern-day couples postpone early family formation for many, different reasons (financial, social, medical, religious, etc). Whatever the reason, many couples or individuals find that it’s just not the right time to have a baby.
Many women delay childbearing to pursue a career, achieve financial security, or await the presence of an appropriate partner. However, as the time goes by, a woman’s ability to get pregnant starts to decline. Even though women today are healthier, improved health in later life does not offset the natural age-related decline in fertility. The following reasons explain why fertility declines as women age:
The number of oocytes decreases (a woman is born with all the eggs she will have in her lifetime),
The oocyte quality deteriorates (a woman’s eggs age with her),
The possibility of conceiving a baby decreases,
The possibility of miscarriage increases,
The chances of having a child with a genetic abnormality (such as Down syndrome) increases,
The chances of having health conditions (such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cancer) that can cause fertility problems increase,
There is a risk of premature ovarian failure (the loss of function of ovaries before the age of 40) or early menopause
While the effects of female aging on fertility are well-known, little is known about male age-related infertility. Recent studies have shown that a man’s age also affects the chances of conceiving a baby for the following reasons:
Sperm quality declines after the age of 40-45,
Sperm motility (the ability to move towards an egg) decreases,
The amount of semen (the fluid that contains sperm) decreases,
The chances of having health conditions (such as prostate cancer) that can cause fertility problems increase.
There is a trend that assisted reproductive techniques, such as IVF, is the solution for postponing early family formation. Although IVF can be the solution to many infertility problems, the current technology cannot negate the natural decline in fertility that occurs as we age. Thus, it is of paramount importance to enhance public awareness on age-related infertility and help couples evaluate the information available online.
In conclusion, as women and men age, their potential to have children both naturally and with IVF becomes more difficult. At EmbryoClinic, we empathize with your concerns, we are available to answer your questions, discuss about fertility treatments and offer a holistic approach to your fertility problems. Do not hesitate to ask for counseling about age-related fertility decline.