Our State-of-the-Art Laboratory and High Pregnancy Success Rates

Tamer Yalcinkaya, MD, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine, noted that much of the center’s high pregnancy success rates can be attributed to its IVF laboratory, run by Alberto Carrillo, PhD, HCLD.

Carrillo has more than 18 years of experience in human IVF. Together, Carrillo and embryologist Sushma Singh, PhD, pay close attention to details, constantly monitoring quality assurance and quality control. They also stay abreast of new developments through communication with other embryologists throughout the world, continual research, and library and IT resources available at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The lab is certified by the American College of Pathology, and houses top-of-the-line equipment and the highest quality reagents and materials. Advances in the laboratory have enabled extended incubations in 70 percent of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients.*

“In order to be successful at IVF, we need to provide the embryos an optimal environment in the laboratory—making it possible for the embryos to develop in the same way they would in the reproductive tract of a fertile woman,” said Carrillo. “This, in turn, allows us to better select embryos to transfer back into the uterus.”

One important factor is the laboratory’s ability to successfully transfer embryos at the blastocyst (day 5) stage. This results in the transfer of 1 or 2 more advanced, healthier embryos, rather than 3 or more earlier embryos, thus increasing pregnancy rates and decreasing the chance of multiple births.

The center sees only 1 or 2 triplet pregnancies per year. On average, 2 embryos are transferred for each patient, with 10 percent of the patients under age 35 receiving a single embryo.*

The center is currently reporting a success rate of 64 percent live births per retrieval in women under age 35, well above the national average of 44.5 percent. In women 35–40, the center’s success rate is 50 percent, compared to the national average of 31 percent.*

According to Carrillo, other important developments are the recent advances in genetic testing of embryos at Wake Forest Baptist, which the lab uses to better select embryos.

“This should provide us with one more tool for selecting embryos for transfer, getting us closer to the goal of significantly reducing the chances of twins or triplets by eventually transferring only one high quality embryo per patient,” said Carrillo.

*Success rates based on center’s 2009 data on SART CORS database. National averages based on most current data available.

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