1 OVULATION & This handbook is intended to give you an overview of infertility treatment with IUI and ovulation induction and to better understand the medical circumstances that lead to this treatment option. INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION (IUI) Book Number
2 2 Ovulation and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and Treatment Handbook Table of Contents Section Topic 1 Intrauterine Insemination 2 Oocyte (Egg) Development: Natural Cycle 3 Stimulated Cycle: Ovulation induction with Clomiphene (Clomid) 4 Stimulated Cycle: Ovulation induction with Letrozole (Femera) 5 Stimulated Cycle: Ovulation induction with Gonadotropins (Gonal f, Follistim, Bravelle, Menopur) 6 Potential complications and/or side effects of the use of ovulation induction medications 7 Pregnancy and birth following infertility treatments 8 Financial responsibility and Insurance coverage 9 Protecting confidentiality: Communications with physicians 10 Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) antibody testing and other infections disease testing 11 Donor sperm insemination
3 3 Introduction The goal of treatment for infertility is to help achieve a healthy pregnancy. Usually evaluation and treatment for infertility is considered when a woman/couple has been attempting pregnancy on her/their own unsuccessfully for one year if the woman is <35 years old or greater than 6 months if the woman is >= 35 years old. However there are exceptions to this generalization, e.g. the woman has a previously identified ovulation problem because she has absent, infrequent or irregular menstrual cycles, or the man has had a previous vasectomy. In some cases, specific reason(s) for infertility can be identified after complete evaluation, in which case the appropriate treatment can be prescribed. However in many cases, the reason(s) for infertility are not readily identified and empiric treatment (i.e. treatment based on clinical experience) is attempted. There are several methods for treating infertility. This handbook describes some of the simpler methods such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and ovulation induction with hormonal medications. Which procedure is desirable or preferable for a particular woman/couple depends on your individual medical circumstances, including the identified reason(s), if any, for infertility. You will choose your treatment from the various options available to you based on the information concerning risks, benefits and alternatives provided by your physician, together with your understanding of the various treatment options. In some cases, your choice of treatment may be influenced by your social situation, financial situation and personal preferences as discussed during discussions with our fertility team. The purpose of this handbook is to give you an overview of infertility treatment with IUI and ovulation induct ion. The information is part of the process of understanding you individual medical circumstances. When you meet with your physician and the clinical personnel at IVF New England, you will receive additional information about how your particular situation relates to the general information contained in this handbook. You will make certain decisions from the choices available. You should sign the Consent to Ovulation Induction, Monitoring and/or Insemination Treatment form only after you have read this booklet, consulted with your physician and weighed the risks and benefits of the recommended treatment plan. Unless treatment decisions change, the signed consent for will be considered valid for one (1) year.
4 4 Section 1 Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) IUI is one of the simpler treatments for infertility and is performed very frequently. IUI may be performed during a natural cycle or during a cycle where ovulation induction medications are used. When the male partner has a low sperm count or motility, or when the cause of infertility is unknown, IUI is used to increase the chances of sperm coming in contact with the egg(s) so that fertilization and pregnancy are more likely to occur. IUI is also used for donor sperm insemination. IUI is usually utilized after consideration of your infertility situation and after it has been demonstrated that at least one fallopian tube is open via hysterosalpingogram (HSG), Sonohystogram with saline-air device (femvue), or diagnostic laparoscopy with chromopertubation of the fallopian tubes. However exceptions to this may be made under certain circumstances. For IUI, semen is processed or washed to concentrate the motile sperm that are then injected into your uterus via a narrow tube or catheter. The IUI is timed to coincide as closely as possible with ovulation. The procedures is usually not painful although some women may feel minimal cramping as the catheter is inserted. Rarely, excessive curvature of the pathway through the cervix into the uterus makes insertion of the catheter difficult, but a full bladder will often straighten the curvature. In rare circumstances, an instrument (tenaculum) may be required to straighten the pathway or ultrasound guidance may be used. Any pain or cramps caused by the tenaculum may be minimized with local anesthetic (topical or injected) into the cervix. IUI or the treatment cycle may be canceled for any of the following reasons: (a) spontaneous premature ovulation, (b) poor ovarian response to stimulation resulting in inadequate/insufficient follicle development or hormone production, (c) presence of too many follicles, thereby increasing risk of multiple pregnancy and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). [See complications and/or side effects of the use of ovulation induction medications, section 6]. Potential Complications and/or Side Effects (a) Pelvic infection due to bacteria introduced with the sperm or by the insertion of the catheter through the cervix can occur. This is extremely rare, but could result in blockage of the fallopian tubes. (b) Occasionally, your cervix may need to be dilated in order to insert the catheter. This is very unusual, however if it is necessary, there is a risk of perforating the uterus. Such perforation rarely requires surgical repair but may warrant hospitalization for observation. (c) Finally, mild to moderate cramping as the catheter is inserted and light bleeding or spotting after an IUI procedure are common side effects.
5 5 Section 2 Oocyte (Egg) Development in a Natural cycle Most women with regular menstrual periods have normal development and release of an egg every month. If a woman is less than 40 years old and her menses occur every 24 to 35 days, it is likely that an egg is produced each cycle and that her ovarian hormone levels are normal. However, occasionally even though a woman has a regular menstrual cycle, there is the possibility that the hormones of ovulation are not being produced normally, so that the egg produced is unlikely to result in a successful pregnancy. As part of your infertility evaluation, your hormone levels may be examined closely. This evaluation may include: reproductive hormone tests between cycle days 2 and 3 of the menstrual period, baseline ultrasound evaluation and hormone testing of the pituitary, thyroid or adrenal function, if indicated. Confirmation of ovulation in a natural cycle can be done by performing a serum progesterone level (blood test) between cycle days 21 and 24, however this testing is not usually necessary in a woman with a regular menstrual period. For a planned IUI in a natural cycle, you will be instructed on how to predict the day of ovulation using a urinary ovulation prediction kit. IUI will ordinarily be performed on the day or two consecutive days after the kit tests are positive. For some women, the urinary ovulation prediction kits do not work very well. In these cases, the day of ovulation may be reliably predicted by doing serial blood hormone tests and/or ultrasound scans of the ovaries. Such testing may require several visits. Other times, ovulation may be triggered with a medication that induces ovulation (hcg or Ovidrel) after a mature follicle is visualized on ultrasound. Almost all ultrasound scans are done vaginally. You do not need a full bladder at the time of the ultrasound. All ultrasound appointments are scheduled. Your nurse coordinator will arrange these appointments for you.
6 6 Section 3 Stimulated cycle If a woman does not ovulate regularly or if the cause of infertility is unexplained or mild, a stimulated IUI cycle may be recommended. The purpose of stimulation medications in a woman who does not ovulate regularly is to induce ovulation to occur. The purpose of stimulation medications in a woman who does ovulate is to achieve controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) which is the intentional controlled over stimulation of the ovaries in order to obtain an optimal ovulation and number of mature eggs. Ovulation induction medications can be prescribed followed by either appropriately timed intercourse or an IUI procedure (see section 1). There are several different types of medications that may be used for a stimulated cycle. Stimulated cycle with Clomiphene Citrate (Serophene, Clomid) Clomiphene citrate is one type of stimulation medication that may be used. It may be used to treat women who do not ovulate regularly or it may be used in ovulatory women where the cause of infertility is mild or unexplained. Clomiphene works at the level pituitary gland in the brain, facilitating the release of more of the gonadotropins, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary. FSH and LH in turn stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs and the ovarian hormones estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4). Clomiphene is a table that is taken by mouth usually for five days, beginning on cycle day 3 to 5 of the menstrual cycle, after we have confirmed that you are not pregnant with a negative pregnancy test and baseline ultrasound. The initial dosage is 50 to 100 mg (one or two tablets) daily at bedtime or as prescribed by your physician. Monitoring of egg development is usually done with ultrasound scans of the ovaries and blood tests. Ovulation is typically triggered with a medication that induces ovulation (hcg or Ovidrel) after mature follicle(s) is/are visualized on ultrasound. If an IUI is scheduled, this procedure is usually performed 36 to 40 hours after the trigger injection. Alternatively, monitoring of the cycle is sometimes performed by urinary LH monitoring using ovulation predictor kits to determine when the egg(s) is/are mature. Almost all ultrasound scans are done vaginally. These ultrasound scans can be done when you are menstruating. You do not need a full bladder at the time of the ultrasound. All ultrasound appointments are scheduled. Your nurse coordinator will arrange these appointments for you. A blood P4 test may be done, if indicated, to confirm ovulation and adequacy of hormone production. A blood pregnancy test will be performed 15 to 18 days after IUI. A home urine pregnancy test should NOT be done if hcg injection(s) were given because these may cause a false positive result. If the first pregnancy test is positive, subsequent blood tests will be done to confirm appropriate rise in the blood levels of the pregnancy hormone. A pelvic ultrasound is done approximately 5 weeks after IUI to determine the location and number of pregnancy sacs and heartbeats.
7 7 The most commonly reported side effects with clomiphene are hot flashes (which may be unpleasant but are not dangerous), mood swings and abdominal discomfort. Other less common side effects include headache, fatigue, bloating and dizziness. Rarely, women can develop visual changes while taking clomiphene. You should inform your doctor or nurse coordinator if visual changes occur while you are on this medication. Other risks of ovulation induction medications include risk of ovarian cysts and risk of multiple birth (see section 6).
8 8 Section 4 Stimulated cycle with letrozole (Femara) Letrozole is an aromatase inhibitor that functions by blocking the production of estrogen, which in turn increases the production of the gonadotropins, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland in the brain. This medication was developed for the treatment of breast cancer for those cases where tumors are sensitive to estrogen. Experience in infertility patients beginning in 2001 has shown that letrozole can help induce ovulation in women who do not ovulate regularly. Currently, we have lengthy experience with other medications, such as clomiphene and injectable gonadotropins, to assist with the induction of ovulation. It is important for you to understand that letrozole is not approved by the FDA for the purposes of fertility treatment, so using the medication for this purpose is considered an off-label use. The pharmaceutical company that manufactures letrozole does not sanction or promote its use for the purpose of ovulation induction. Letrozole is contraindicated for use during pregnancy, and if taken after ovulation, letrozole could theoretically increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. Your physician will typically order a test to confirm that you are not pregnant prior to prescribing this medication. An early study published in 2005 reported a 4.7% risk of birth defects in babies conceived via letrozole as compared to the 3% to 5% rate of birth defects in the general population. This study also reported a possible increased rate of miscarriages when letrozole was used. Subsequent larger studies have not shown an increased risk of miscarriage or birth defects in pregnancies conceived via letrozole. Letrozole has a half-life of about two days, which means that if given in the early part of the menstrual cycle it should be essentially eliminated from the woman s body by the time ovulation occurs and a pregnancy is established. Studies in Europe and the United States have shown that letrozole is as effective as clomiphene in inducing follicle development and ovulation. One large prospective randomized multi-center study in the United States demonstrated that letrozole is more effective than clomiphene at inducing successful ovulation and achieving live birth in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This same study did not show any significant difference in the risk of miscarriage or rate of birth defects between these 2 medications. Unlike clomiphene, letrozole does not have a direct estrogen blocking effect, which can assist with the body s ability to develop better cervical mucus and a better endometrial lining of the uterus. Better cervical mucus, allowing for better sperm transport, and a better endometrial lining, can increase the opportunity for an embryo to implant successfully. Letrozole is a tablet that is taken by mouth usually for five days, beginning on cycle day 3 to 5 of the menstrual cycle, after confirmation of a negative pregnancy test and baseline ultrasound. The initial dosage is 2.5 to 5 mg daily at bedtime or as prescribed by your physician. Some women may require a higher dosage. Monitoring of egg development is usually done with ultrasound scans of the ovaries and blood tests or by urinary LH monitoring using ovulation predictor kits to determine when the egg(s) is/are mature. Ovulation is typically triggered with a medication that induces ovulation (hcg or Ovidrel) after mature follicle(s) are visualized on ultrasound. If an IUI is scheduled, this procedure is usually
9 9 performed 36 to 40 hours after the trigger injection. Alternatively, monitoring of the cycle is sometimes performed by urinary LH monitoring using ovulation predictor kits to determine when the egg(s) is/are mature. Almost all ultrasound scans are done vaginally. These ultrasound scans can be done when you are menstruating. You do not need a full bladder at the time of the ultrasound. All ultrasound appointments are scheduled. Your nurse coordinator will arrange these appointments for you. A blood P4 test may be done, if indicated, to confirm ovulation and adequacy of hormone production. A blood pregnancy test will be performed 15 to 18 days after IUI. A home urine pregnancy test should NOT be done if hcg or Ovidrel injection was given because these may cause a false positive result. If the first pregnancy test is positive, subsequent blood tests will be done to confirm appropriate rise in the blood levels of the pregnancy hormone. A pelvic ultrasound is done approximately 5 weeks after IUI to determine the location and number of pregnancy sacs and heartbeats. Side effects with letrozole occur infrequently. The most commonly reported side effects with letrozole are fatigue and dizziness. Less commonly reported side effects include hot flashes, headaches and bloating. Other risks of ovulation induction medications include risk of ovarian cysts and risk of multiple birth (see section 6).
10 10 Section 5 Stimulated Cycle: Ovulation induction with Gonadotropins (Gonal f, Follistim, Bravelle, Menopur) Gonadtropins are used in women who have failed to ovulate and/or achieve successful pregnancy with clomiphene or letrozole, or in whom release of more than one egg each month is desired (see Section 3). It is also sometimes used to treat couples with unexplained infertility or diminished ovarian reserve. Gonadotropins may only be used in women whose ovaries are capable of responding to stimulation with FSH. Menopur consists of a combination of both gonadotropins with follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) as well as luteinizing hormone (LH) activity. Gonal f, Follistim and Bravelle contain pure FSH with no LH activity. Your physician will instruct you on which medication is appropriate for your specific diagnosis. All gonadotropins are given via subcutaneous injection and stimulate ovarian production of eggs and the hormones estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4). When absence of pregnancy is confirmed with a negative pregnancy test result, treatment is begun after onset of menstrual bleeding, usually starting on cycle day 3 with IU daily. Starting day and/or dosage may be modified according to your characteristics (e.g. age, weight, etc.) and previous response to treatment. Treatment with gonadotropins requires close monitoring of follicle (egg) development with blood E2 tests and ultrasound scans of the ovaries to determine when the eggs are mature and to adjust the dosage of the gonadotropins when necessary. When the eggs are believed to be mature based on follicle size and blood E2 levels, human chorionic gonadotropin (hcg) or choriogonadotropin alfa (Ovidrel) is given to trigger release of the egg(s). IUI, if indicated, is scheduled hours after trigger injection. In some cases, vaginal progesterone products may be prescribed to supplement the progesterone produced by the ovary. Additional doses of hcg are occasionally used in place of vaginal progesterone supplements. A blood pregnancy test will be performed 15 to 18 days after IUI. A home urine pregnancy test should NOT be done if hcg injection(s) were given because these may cause a false positive result. If the first pregnancy test is positive, subsequent blood tests will be done to confirm appropriate rise in the blood levels of the pregnancy hormone. A pelvic ultrasound is done approximately 5 weeks after IUI to determine the location and number of pregnancy sacs and heartbeats. The most common side effect of gonadotropin medications is abdominal discomfort. Other risks include risk of ovarian cysts, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and risk of multiple birth (see section 6).
11 11 Section 6 Potential complications and/or side effects of the use of ovulation induction medications Monitoring of ovarian stimulation involves blood tests and ultrasound examination. The taking of blood samples may cause discomfort and/or bruising, infection and/or scarring at the needle site. Rarely, this procedure can be associated with nerve damage. Vaginal ultrasound examinations are used to visualize the ovaries and the uterus to help predict the timing of ovulation. Occasionally, these may be associated with some discomfort, however, generally ultrasound are considered harmless and painless. There are no known risks associated with repeated ultrasound examinations of developing eggs. Women who do not ovulate normally on their own may notice symptoms usually associated with ovulation, such as mid-cycle ovulation pain or premenstrual symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, breast tenderness and menstrual cramps. If you experience pelvic pain, you should report it to your physician. The manufacturers advise that serious pulmonary conditions and thromboembolic (blood clot) events have rarely been reported in conjunction with the use of ovarian stimulation medication, usually in the context of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Some patients may have allergic reactions to such drugs so symptoms of generalized rash, swelling or difficulty breathing should be reported to your doctor. These drugs may occasionally cause the development of ovarian cysts (non-cancerous, fluid-filled structures in the ovaries). In rare instances these may need to be removed surgically, in which case hospitalization may be required. The removal of an ovarian cyst can result in the loss of an ovary, though such a loss is extremely rare. It is also possible for an ovarian cyst to rupture, causing a brief episode of pain. Under rare circumstances, the rupture of an ovarian cyst may be associated with sudden bleeding and require surgery and/or blood transfusion(s). Such acute bleeding is very rare. Ovulation induction medications should not be used during pregnancy. It is sometimes difficult to rule out the possibility of a pregnancy even when it seems that normal menstruation has occurred. For this reason, women may be asked to have a pregnancy test prior to commencing a cycle. Additionally you will be asked to refrain from intercourse, or use barrier protection at certain times of the woman's cycle. Published studies have addressed a potential risk of ovarian cancer associated with the use of certain medications for ovarian stimulation. The consensus of medical opinion on the issue, as voiced by the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine is that there is no conclusive evidence of risk. As part of your patient counseling, you should discuss this issue with your physician. Multiple pregnancy The risk of multiple pregnancy is increased with the use of ovulation induction medications. With clomiphene and letrozole, there is an approximately 5-8% risk of twins and <1% risk of triplets or more. Gonadotropins are associated with a higher risk of multiple birth of approximately 20% and a small percentage of these pregnancies are triplets or more. The risk of multiple birth may be minimized by careful monitoring and adjustment of gonadotropin dosage, or cancellation of a cycle if too many
12 12 mature follicles develop. Multiple pregnancies are associated with higher risks of premature births and pregnancy related complications. The most important maternal complications associated with multiple gestation are preterm labor and delivery, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Others include gall bladder and skin problems, excess weight gain, anemia, excessive nausea and vomiting and exacerbation of gastrointestinal symptoms including reflux and constipation. Chronic back pain, intermittent heartburn, post-partum laxity of the abdominal wall, and umbilical hernias can also occur. Problems with the developing placenta are more common in multiple gestations and can lead to severe bleeding during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Maternal hemorrhage complicates 12% of multi-fetal deliveries. Triplets and higher order multiples further increase the risk of the above complications to the mother. Prematurity accounts for most of the excess newborn complications associated with multi-fetal gestation. These potential complications include, but are not limited to cerebral palsy, retinopathy of prematurity, chronic lung disease, fetal growth restriction and discordant growth, intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding surrounding the brain), necrotizing enterocolitis (a potentially fatal form of intestinal infection) and problems with cognitive and behavioral development. Multi-fetal pregnancy reduction (where one or more fetuses are selectively terminated) reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of these complications. Fetal death rates for singleton, twin, and triplet pregnancies are 4.3 per 1000, 15.5 per 1000 and 21 per 1000, respectively. The death of one or more fetuses in a multi-fetal gestation (vanishing twin) is common in the first trimester. Loss of a fetus in the first trimester is unlikely to adversely affect the surviving fetus or mother. No additional complications to the mother or newborn have been described resulting from a vanishing embryo. Rearing of twins and high-order multiples may generate physical, emotional and financial stresses. The incidence of maternal depression and anxiety is also increased in women raising offspring from multifetal gestation. At mid-childhood, offspring born prematurely from multiple gestation have lower IQ scores and an increase in behavioral problems compared with singletons. It is not clear to what extent these risks are affected by fertility treatment per se. Pregnancies that have more than 2 fetuses are considered an adverse outcome of infertility treatment. The greater the number of fetuses within the uterus, the greater is the risk for adverse perinatal and maternal outcomes. Patients with more than twins are faced with the options of continuing the pregnancy with all risks previously described, terminating the entire pregnancy, or reducing the number of fetuses in an effort to decrease the risk of complications to mother and fetus. Multifetal pregnancy reduction (MFPR) decreases risks associated with preterm delivery, but often creates profound ethical dilemmas. Pregnancy loss is the main risk of MFPR. However, current data suggest that such complications have decreased as experience with the procedure has grown. The risk of loss of the entire pregnancy after MFPR is approximately 1%. In general, the risk of loss after MFPR increases if the number of fetuses at the beginning of the procedure is more than three. While there is little difference between the loss rates observed when the final number of viable fetuses is two or one, the loss rate is higher in pregnancies reduced to triplets. Pregnancies that are reduced to twins appear to do as well as spontaneously conceived twin gestations, although an increased risk of having a small for gestational age fetus is increased when the starting
13 13 number is over four. The benefit of MFPR can be documented in triplet and higher-order gestations because reduction prolongs the length of gestation of the surviving fetuses. (This has been demonstrated for triplets; triplets have a 30 to 35% risk of birth under 32 weeks compared to twins, which is 7 to 10%.) Your attitude regarding MFPR should be considered. If you and your partner have serious emotional, ethical or religious reservations regarding the procedure, you should carefully evaluate the use of gonadotropins, because their use is associated with a high risk of multiple pregnancy. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) A rare complication of gonadotropin medications is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). The process of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation for IUI involves the intentional controlled over stimulation of the ovaries in order to obtain an optimal number of mature eggs. It is possible that this may result in a dramatic increase in the size of the ovaries, causing symptoms of OHSS. Symptoms of OHSS, if they occur, are related to the significant enlargement of the ovaries and fluid accumulation in the abdomen that usually follows 5 to 7 days after ovulation. Severe hyperstimulation can be worse with pregnancy, therefore one option if over-response is noted is to cancel the cycle. OHSS is usually managed by surgical aspiration of excess fluid, but may require hospitalization (and in extremely rare instance, removal of the ovaries), with or without IV fluid therapy, including albumin and salt solutions. Severe hyperstimulation may result in major complications such a stroke and kidney failure. However, fluid aspiration is highly successful in improving symptoms and shortening the course of the situation. Risks of OHSS include, but are not limited to: Twisting or rupture of the ovary, which may require surgery, and/or surgical removal of ovary including transfusion Blood clots, embolism, fluid overload in lungs Fluid accumulation in the abdomen that may require transvaginal and/or abdominal aspiration of fluid including placement of a temporary drainage tube Kidney and/or other organ dysfunction and even death have been reported from severe OHSS The risks of OHSS may be minimized by: Terminating cycle Not performing intrauterine insemination or having intercourse Terminating a pregnancy once established In most cases of cycle cancellation, it is possible to attempt another cycle with adjusted levels of medications. Warning signs include, but are not limited to, the following: Nausea and vomiting Severe pelvic pain Severe abdominal bloating Weight gain of 2 or more pounds/day for 2 days or more Difficulty breathing Decreased urination despite usual or increased fluid intake. If you experience any one or a combination of these symptoms after taking gonadotropin medications, please contact your physician or nurse.
14 14 Section 7 Pregnancy and Birth Following Infertility Treatments The likelihood that infertility treatments will result in a clinical pregnancy or live birth depends on many individual factors, primarily, the age of the woman, the quality of the sperm, the response of the woman's ovaries to stimulation with ovulation induction medications, the cause of infertility, and the condition of the uterus. Whatever the course of treatment, the response of any individual patient cannot be predicted with certainty. It is important to discuss your particular circumstances and history with your physician in order to arrive at a reasonable understanding of your chances of pregnancy or birth following one or more treatment cycles. However there are no guarantee of successful outcome, no matter how favorable the rate that may be projected for a given couple. After pregnancy is achieved, the following complications may occur: 1. The fetus may not develop normally and spontaneous miscarriage may occur. 2. Ectopic pregnancies (where the embryo implants and begins to develop outside the uterus) occur more frequently in couples receiving treatment for infertility than in couples conceiving spontaneously after sexual intercourse. This increased frequency may be the result of the fact that tubal disease is a contributing factor in many infertile couples. Most ectopic pregnancies are tubal pregnancies. Tubal ectopic pregnancies may be treated surgically or medically. Surgery may result in damage to or the loss of a fallopian tube and further impair fertility. In rare instances, a tubal pregnancy may present as a medical emergency in which the patient may go into shock as a result of blood loss and require blood transfusions and other treatment. 3. The discovery of abnormalities in the fetus through prenatal diagnostic procedures (e.g. blood testing, chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis or ultrasound) may lead the woman/couple to decide to terminate the pregnancy. Even an apparently normal ongoing pregnancy presents risks to both the mother and the baby, and does not guarantee a normal delivery at term of a normal infant. In pregnancies occurring after infertility treatments, as in pregnancies resulting from intercourse, serious unforeseen obstetrical complications occur. Such complications may result in miscarriage, the loss of the child in advanced pregnancy (stillbirth) or delivery of a baby too premature to survive. A prematurely born infant may experience serious or life threatening complications or permanent medical disability. The use of medications for ovulation induction involves an increased risk of multiple pregnancy. Additionally, the rate of all types of complications greatly increases when there is a multiple pregnancy. Other obstetrical complications seem to occur following infertility treatments at a similar rate to pregnancies conceived following intercourse. The rate of major birth defects in children born to mothers in the general population is about 3-4%. The risk that a child will be born with a major birth defect increases as its parents ages increase. There is no evidence that genetic problems, which are responsible for half of birth defects, are increased by infertility treatments. However blood tests, ultrasound, amniocentesis and/or chorionic villus sampling, can aid the recognition of many of these defects early in pregnancy and should be discussed with your obstetrician. However, not all defects will necessarily be by these examinations. It is generally recommended that women who will be age 35 years or older by the date of expected delivery should consider prenatal diagnostic testing. This should be discussed with your obstetrician.
15 15 In rare instances, pregnancy may result in serious harm or even death to the mother due to occurrences such as pulmonary embolism (blood clot to the lung), stroke or hemorrhage after delivery. There is no known increased risk for these complications in pregnancies following infertility treatments.
16 16 Section 8 Financial Responsibility & Insurance Coverage Financial responsibility for all services and medical treatments given by and for IVF New England, physician and staff services, laboratory services and hospital costs associated with medical care, is the sole responsibility of you and your partner receiving these treatments. Financial responsibility for any pregnancy, any pregnancy complications and any child(ren) resulting from treatment with IVF New England, is the sole responsibility of you and your partner receiving these treatments. The staff of IVF New England makes every effort to accurately predict the cost of services before they are rendered, but the costs may vary depending on unforeseen circumstances and/or complications of the treatment. IVF New England reserves the right to change its charges and fees with appropriate notice. The financial staff of IVF New England will work with you to determine likely insurance reimbursement for care rendered, but the ultimate responsibility for payment rests with you, not your insurance company.
17 17 Section 9 Protecting Confidentiality: Communications with Physicians In keeping with established medical ethics and general medical procedures, details of the medical care you receive through IVF New England are confidential, except when release is legally authorized or required. Our Notice of Privacy Practices provided to you on your first visit describes how we will protect your privacy rights, as well as how you can request restrictions on release of information. It is our policy, in compliance with HIPAA, to disclose information or copies of the medical record only as allowed for treatment, payment or healthcare operations. Otherwise no information is released without written authorization of the person receiving treatment. In the case of HIV results, a separate written authorization of the person tested needs to be given prior to release of results. In the normal course of medical practice, communications, either verbal or written are made from time to time with the physician(s) who referred you for care. If you do not wish this, IVF New England must be notified in writing. Upon establishment of a pregnancy, it is our policy to send basic information to your designated obstetrician. This letter or verbal communication may include the type of therapy, including ovum or sperm donation used, and the current status of the pregnancy monitoring and instructions for any medications that need to be continued during the pregnancy. It is the practice of IVF New England to report clinical treatment and results in scientific/medical meetings and journals without identifying specific couples involved in the treatment.
18 18 Section 10 HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Antibody Test and other Infectious Disease Testing Tests for previous exposure to the HIV virus are performed on blood samples obtained from both partners. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. A positive test indicates that you have been infected with the HIV virus and are able to infect others. It has been the policy of IVF New England to insist that couples be tested for the presence of HIV. The purpose of this testing is to prevent the transmission of HIV in a possible offspring. Women who harbor the virus, but have no symptoms of AIDS, may pass the serious disease to their offspring. Treating the pregnant woman may reduce the rate of transmission to the fetus. Men and women, whether or not they are symptomatic, may pass the virus to their sexual partners. Needle sharing with infected persons and blood products used medically are the other means of transmission of the AIDS virus. Infected people may harbor the virus for many years (at least ten years in some cases) without manifesting any symptoms of AIDS. The fact that a person harbors the virus and is potentially contagious may be determined by a blood test. The blood test may not be accurate in the first weeks or even months after contracting the viral infection, since the test measures the individual s immune (antibody) response to the virus, and this response takes time to fully develop. It is not clear whether all persons with HIV will ultimately develop AIDS, but careful medical follow-up is required. Each state regulates the performance of the test; most states mandate that individuals being tested be counseled about AIDS and about the implications of positive and negative test results. It is the policy of IVF New England to limit the number of clinical staff who have access to HIV test results in order to assist in the protection of confidentiality. Copies of HIV test results are not sent out without the express written permission of the individuals. In signing the Consent to Ovulation Induction, Monitoring and/or Treatment form, patients at IVF New England are consenting to be tested for HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and to the release of the results to her/their physician at IVF New England. Each member of the couple is also asked to agree to inform the other partner about the results of the test. In addition to HIV testing, you and your partner may be tested for Hepatitis B Surface antigen, Hepatitis C Core Antibody, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and HTLV I/II before being allowed to start treatment.
19 19 Section 11 Donor Sperm Insemination Use of donor sperm may be indicated when there is absence of sperm or sperm that is unlikely to fertilize eggs. The success of insemination with thawed frozen donor sperm appears to be lower than the chance of conceiving with fresh sperm. IVF New England maintains working relationships with several national sperm banks that recruit and screen donors according to standards established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Association of Tissue Banks. The genetic and medical histories of each donor, as reported by the donor, are reviewed and traced back two generations. The donor and his sperm are screened for some, but not all genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, thalassemia, and for various sexually transmitted diseases, including but not limited to hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cytomegalovirus, gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomonas, monilia, gardnerella and syphilis. These standards have been established to reduce the risk of transmission of genetic and infectious diseases. However, in spite of these precautions, it is possible for donated sperm to harbor unidentified genetic abnormalities or undetected infections which may be passed on to the resulting child(ren). Infected sperm may also pass on a disease to the woman attempting pregnancy. The risk of major birth defects following use of donor sperm appears to be the same as in the general population. Similarly, there is no apparent increase in the risk of pregnancy complications following donor sperm insemination. Before starting a treatment cycle, you will be provided with our list of approved sperm banks and information on how to order donor sperm. It is your responsibility to contact the sperm banks, select and order the donor sperm of your choice, and ensure its timely delivery to the facilities of IVF New England for use in your treatment cycle. When use of donor sperm is indicated, it is sometimes required that the couple participate in at least one counseling session with one of IVF New England s or other recommended psychologist. This may be waived if you have already had counseling with a licensed therapist who specializes in infertility counseling. To use sperm from a known donor, it is required that the designated donor also participates in counseling sessions, both separately and together with the recipient woman/couple. If the designated donor is married or in a significant relationship, his partner must also be involved. The designated donor must be tested according to the standards established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Association of Tissue Banks**. His genetic and medical history must be reviewed; he and his sperm must be screened for any relevant genetic diseases as well as for sexually transmissible diseases. These services may be provided or facilitated by a sperm bank. The sperm of the designated donor will only be used for insemination after six months of quarantine if the designated donor again tests negative for the standard panel of sexually transmissible diseases at that time. By initialing the option for donor sperm and in signing the "Consent To Ovulation Induction, Monitoring and/or Treatment" form, you are authorizing IVF New England to use donor sperm from a single donor as the sole source of sperm in any one treatment cycle and that, from the moment of insemination, you accept any child(ren) resulting from the procedure of donor sperm insemination as your own. The child(ren) produced as a result of donor sperm insemination is/are considered, in all respects, your
20 20 child(ren). Financial responsibility for the pregnancy, any pregnancy complications and the child(ren) resulting from donor sperm insemination with IVF New England, is your responsibility. ** HIV I/II, HTLV I/II, Hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis C core antibody, syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia cultures, CMV IgG and IgM.
CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE IN VITRO FERTILIZATION-EMBRYO TRANSFER PROGRAM I, after consultation with my physician, request to participate in the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)-Embryo Transfer (ET) procedures
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Name of Patient: Name of Partner: We, the Patient and Partner (if applicable) named above, are each over the age of twenty-one (21) years. By our signatures below, I/we request and authorize the performance
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