A diagnosis of infertility or the inability to have a child can induce multitude of emotions in a couple. Both diagnosis and treatment of infertility can be physically as well as mentally challenging. The success rates of infertility treatment vary depending on various factors that include the age of the couple, the cause of infertility, as well as the kind of treatment undertaken.
Understanding self-cycle or donor cycle IVF
“Treatment for infertility has evolved with time, which has helped improve its success rates. We, as treating physicians, now have several options to personalise the infertility treatment for individual couples – thanks to several advancements in technology and our understanding of the disease processes. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of the most advanced treatment options. IVF can be offered as a ‘self-cycle IVF’ or a ‘donor cycle IVF’, depending on the unique situation,” said Dr Parul Katiyar, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF.
Explaining further, she said that in very simple terms, a couple’s own gametes (sperms and egg) are used in a self-cycle IVF, whereas either sperms or egg from a donor are used in a donor cycle IVF. Donor cycle IVF is generally associated with a slightly higher success rate as compared to self-cycle IVF.
“But the child produced as a result of donor cycle doesn’t inherit the DNA from its biological parents. This is why a self-cycle IVF, in which the child inherits the DNA from its biological parents, is always the preferred first treatment option unless ruled out for clear clinical reasons. Therefore, it is very important that the couple is aware and well informed about the pros and cons of both these options before embarking on their IVF journey,” she added.
Making this choice is not always easy for most of the couples, and they should consult an experienced infertility expert to understand the most optimum options for them in order to maximise the chance of success.
Who benefits most from a self-cycle IVF?
Typically, self-cycle IVF is the most suitable treatment option for most couples starting their treatment for the first time. However, a couple may not benefit from a self-cycle IVF if they fall in any of the following groups, shared the expert:
1. Female partner over 42 years of age, as both the quality and quantity of eggs deteriorates significantly beyond this age. The success rate for self-cycle IVF is far better among younger women and starts declining beyond 35 years of age.
2. Zero sperm count in the male partner, especially among men in whom even the surgical means of extracting sperms (ex- testicular biopsy) have failed to yield healthy sperms.
3. Couples with proven poor sperm and/or egg quality from previous treatment records.
Thus, it is very important for couples to educate themselves and consult an infertility expert in order to make the best and well-informed treatment decision when it comes to choosing between self and donor IVF cycles.
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