Infertility is an increasingly common problem among both men and women. Accomplices risk factors such as lifestyle, pollution and age, an increasing number of couples find themselves in difficulty when they decide to try to have a child: according to the estimates of theWorld Health Organization infertility can affect 15% of women couples of childbearing age, therefore almost one in every seven.
But what is meant by infertility? According to the WHO (World Health Organization), infertility means the absence of conception after 12/24 mesi of unprotected targeted relationships.
The causes of infertility are numerous and very diverse. We can summarize them in this list:
the search for the first child at a late age
smoking, working conditions
environmental and urban pollution.
An Italian law of 2004 regulates access to the various assisted reproduction techniques. The process to try to have a child with MAP must be followed at the centers of medically assisted procreation.
There medically assisted procreation (PMA) can help couples seeking a child with 1st level techniques, which are simple and minimally invasive, e II and III level techniques, which are more complex and more invasive.
The first level techniques mainly include procedures for the simple artificial insemination, while among the second level techniques we find the in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF), and the intracytoplasmic sperm microinjection (ICSI), in these cases the fertilization takes place in vitro, outside the woman’s body and only afterwards the embryo is inserted into the uterine cavity.
The ProCrea center in Lugano (Switzerland) organizes, from September to December, six free meetings for couples who are facing an infertility problem. The aim of the initiative is above all to increase the level of knowledge of the problems related to infertility and the difficulties in conceiving a child, on the causes and solutions that medicine offers to couples who wish to have a child.
Michael Jemec, medical director of the ProCrea center, explains that
The problem lies not only in a lack of prevention that is lacking due to the lack of knowledge, but also in a disorientation of couples who, even in the face of a thousand efforts, are unable to have a child
The calendar of meetings unfolds on the following dates:
Thursday 21 September between 6 pm and 9 pm
Saturday 30 September from 2pm to 5.30pm
Thursday 19 October between 6 pm and 9 pm
Saturday 28 October from 2pm to 5.30pm
Thursday 23 November between 6 pm and 9 pm
Saturday 2 December from 2pm to 5.30pm.
Participation in the “Open doors” it is free and open to all, but it is necessary to pre-register by contacting the ProCrea secretariat at 02.600.630.41; or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating in the subject the date of the Open Doors of interest.
In addition to in vitro fertilization, the modern techniques of MAP also allow to carry out apre-implantation genetic analysis of the embryo in the event that one of the parents, or both, are carriers of genetic diseases. In this way you avoid passing on the genetic diseases you are carrying to your children. The law that regulates assisted fertilization in Italy did not allow, in its original implant, the possibility of pre-implantation diagnosis for fertile couples carrying genetic diseases, but a recent ruling by the Court of Milan has opened the possibility of avoiding transmitting their disease to the children thanks to this technique.
As explained by Michael Jemec, medical director of ProCrea, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a diagnosis that allows us to identify the presence of genetic diseases or chromosomal alterations in very early stages of development. It can already intervene at the level of the oocyte, analyzing the so-called polar blood cells in couples at high reproductive risk, before the embryos derived from them are implanted in the uterus, or a few days after fertilization.
The goal of this technique is twofold, concludes Jemec:
Prevent the transmission of hereditary diseases and, at the same time, avoid the possible use of therapeutic abortion
And ProCrea is among the centers with the greatest experience in the world on polar blood cell analysis. As he explains Giuditta Filippini, director of ProcreaLab the molecular genetics laboratory of the ProCrea center:
this analysis does not touch the embryo in any way. Indeed, the polar globule, being a so-called “waste product”, has no function and will not be part of the embryo. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) makes it possible to prevent the transmission of a genetic disease of maternal origin to the child as it verifies whether the maternal familial mutation is present or not in the oocyte that will generate the embryo; the screening on polar blood cells (PGS) instead allows to identify the oocyte without chromosomal alterations, the one that has a greater chance of leading to a pregnancy
One study conducted by ProCrea and recently presented on the occasion of Eshre congress has shown that this technique also allows to identify the oocyte with normal parameters, the one that has a greater probability of giving rise to a pregnancy.
The research was conducted on women in advanced age, from 36-38 years onwards, in which aneuploid embryos – that is, with an abnormal number of chromosomes – range from 63% up to over 80%, invalidating the possibility of remaining pregnant.
Using a very sensitive technique called Array-CGH it was possible to identify themost suitable oocyte and the results were very interesting, with very high pregnancy rates compared to the control group.
ProCrea is the largest fertility center in Switzerland and it is an international reference center with a long experience in the field of reproductive medicine. ProCrea is made up of a professional team of doctors, biologists and geneticists specializing in the pathophysiology of reproduction. The only Swiss center to have an accredited molecular genetics laboratory within it, ProCrea performs genetic analyzes for the study of infertility with cutting-edge techniques. The main office is a Lugano in via Clemente Maraini 8, a modern health facility spread over five floors with a total area of 1,800 square meters where it operates a team of 40 people, but recently has also opened an office in Milan, a natural decision since 80% of the couples who go to the center come from Italy and Lombardy. In Milan ProCrea is located in the headquarters of Fleming workshop in Viale Bianca Maria 35. The same team from Lugano operates in the new Milanese center.