Healthy Living: Fertility Findings

Each year, more than 50-thousand children are born because of in-vitro fertilization. It's a technique that has revolutionized how doctors treat infertility, but it's not perfect. Now, Robyn Haines reports on three technologies making the process safer and more successful in Healthy Living.


Being a mom is what Valerie Simpson always wanted. At 37, she got pregnant– but the baby died during birth. Valerie struggled to get pregnant again and decided to try in-vitro fertilization. Doctor William Schoolcraft works at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. He offered Valerie a new procedure known as CCS. It screens embryos for chromosome problems before they're transferred to the patient — allowing doctors to implant only healthy embryos.


Doctor Schoolcraft says with CCS, women 35 to 37 have a 78-percent chance of pregnancy. Those 38 to 40: a 68 percent chance. And women up to 42 have a 62 percent chance. Another technique known as vitrification is making IVF more effective when embryos have to be frozen.


With conventional, slow freezing — about 30 percent of embryos do not survive. With the rapid freezing — embryos have more than a 95-percent chance of surviving. Another method called I.C.S.I. is making in-vitro a possibility for more men. Instead of placing thousands of sperm around the egg and hoping one will fertilize it; doctors take just one sperm and inject it into each egg. It's about 75 to 85 percent successful.


The new technologies aren't cheap. They run between one- and five-thousand dollars. That's in addition to the cost of IVF, which typically runs about $13,000 or more per cycle.