My IVF Journey to Motherhood.
Not a week goes by that I don’t think back to the person I was four years ago, when I first blogged about my IVF journey to motherhood. My husband is a carrier for the BRCA 1/BRCA 2 mutations; we therefore decided to do IVF with preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) to genetically screen our embryos for the gene mutations prior to attempting pregnancy. Though four years have passed since starting IVF, its impact – physical, emotional, professional – is forever imprinted on me in the shape of a rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed daughter. She resembles nothing like the framed picture of herself as an embryo, delicately handed to me by the embryologist on the day of my embryo transfer, yet she holds all hope and faith that I carried on that day.
My daughter blows out her birthday candles and I imagine how many more birthday cakes I would have needed to bake had all the embryos from my second retrieval cycle not been found to be genetically compromised. I settle into my work desk at AiVF Ltd., and picture myself as the patient on the other end of my work, benefitting from the data-driven technologies being built to optimize the fertility process. Four years ago I could not have predicted that IVF advocacy and research would forever drive my professional and personal pursuits. And yet, I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey.
Flash forward four years later; the world of assisted reproductive technology has advanced faster than our minds can process. For example, the technological evolution of PGT, the early form of prenatal genetic diagnosis used in IVF to detect abnormal embryos, has yielded higher accuracy rates and more sensitive results than ever before. Clinical management of inconclusive outcomes has improved due to the development of more precise molecular techniques for embryo genetic testing. But there is still work to be done. The most widely accepted procedure for PGT still requires invasive embryo biopsy, which is costly and poses a concern of structural damage to the embryo. In fact, the average cost of PGT in the USA is ~$12,000. I underwent three separate IVF with PGT cycles, and the receipts seemed to pile up quicker than I could pay them off. There is a need for more cost-effective, less labor-intensive methods for genetically profiling embryos prior to transfer, specifically for individuals with serious inherited disorders to reduce the risk of having a child with the same condition.
Where do we go from here? As an AiVF employee, I commit to studying and developing technologies that can achieve this. As an IVF advocate, I raise awareness for the need to improve access to affordable, transparent, and high-quality fertility care for every patient who seeks it. As mother, I am grateful to live in an era that encourages technological discovery that helped make my family a reality.
If you would like to receive information about how fertility clinics are using the AI technology from AiVF, please contact me.