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Interview with Leonor Ortega, Head of the IVF Spain laboratory

As Head of the IVF Spain laboratory, what does your work day look like?

There are many things going on, on a daily basis. Helping couples to fulfill their dream is a rewarding and enriching experience, but due to the strict timetables that need to be followed in an IVF laboratory, we are subject to constant work. That, of course, would not be possible without a highly qualified team of embryologists.

How can you improve the success rates of a fertility treatment?

There are several ways to improve the success rates of a fertility treatment.

One way would be making an accurate diagnosis prior to the treatment, but doing so requires a highly trained and specialized medical team capable of understanding each patient’s case and determining which tests must be performed on the patients. This will ultimately allow us to adapt the treatment to the patient’s needs.

The egg quality is also very important. It is one of the main obstacles patients have to face when trying to conceive. Bear in mind that at the age of 35 both the quality and quantity of the female eggs rapidly decreases; the quality of the ejaculate is also important, although its quality is not directly linked to age.

These aspects however, are not the only ones when aiming at an overall improvement of the success rates; a proper functioning of the IVF laboratory is crucial. Highly trained personnel and cutting-edge technology must go hand in hand to achieve the best possible results for the patients.

What is the difference between cryoconservation and vitrification?

Cryoconservation – also known as slow freezing – refers to the progressive freezing process of eggs and embryos currently falling into disuse. By vitrifying embryos and eggs however, we are able to achieve better results.

This technique is of particular significance when it comes to sperm samples. Assisted reproduction laboratories usually perform the slow freezing, but at IVF Spain we developed an effective vitrification process for sperm samples that gives better results compared to the conventional slow freezing.

Which techniques do you carry out to improve the success rates of a fertility treatment?

One particular technique that can help us improve a treatment’s success rates is Time-Lapse. It allows us to monitor embryos 24 hours a day and to get all the information we need to select the embryo/s with the highest implantation rate.

We have the possibility to screen the embryos for aneuploidy by means of PGS to ensure even higher success rates in both IVF and egg donation treatments.

We can also carry out a complete sperm analysis to assess the sperm quality beyond its concentration and motility, including advanced tests for sperm functionality. This way we can offer our patient the best possible treatment and diagnosis, such as the DNA Fragmentation and V Annexin MACS test.

We can also perform sperm selection by means of enriched hyaluronic acid on cases with high DNA fragmentation.

At IVF Spain we champion state-of-the-art technology applied to fertility treatments and offer our patients the highest possible success rates.

What would you say to someone who is suffering from fertility problems, but is hesitating to see a fertility specialist?

I would recommend all couples who have been trying to get pregnant naturally for more than one year to seek medical counselling without hesitation, as a fertility specialist will be able to address their problem and guide them on their journey.

Author profile

IVF-Spain is modern, patient-focused infertility clinic in Alicante, Spain. Offering a full range of fertility treatments including natural cycle IVF, ICSI and IMSI, the clinic has an emphasis on the international egg donation programme and specialises in special IVF cases such as recurrent miscarriages, implantation failures and genetic diseases.

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