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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘PGD’

Israeli IVF Success Doubles in Decade

Monday, May 14th, 2012

A new Health Ministry reports shows that a whopping 25 percent of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)treatments resulted in pregnancies, with 20% of attempts resulting in live births.  The number represents the doubling of success in the last decade.

According to the report, 4.1% of births in Israel were the result of IVF treatments in 2010, compared to 2.5% in 1997.  In 2010, 8,123 IVF cycles resulted in pregnancy, with 4,217 achieving success in 2000.

The average women gave birth to 1.2 babies, a consistent figure which is accounted for by the common Israeli practice of returning only one or two embryos to a woman’s body, so as to avoid the risk of multiple births.

Healthy ministry officials attribute the surge in success to Israeli advancement in IVF technology and procedure, and extensive scientific and medical research.

Israeli law provides all women with free and unlimited IVF procedures for up to two live babies.  In 2011, 35,000 IVF cycles were completed throughout the country, up from 18,011 in 2000.

Among the reasons for the rising figures in IVF treatment success is the advanced scientific and medical research in the field of medicine.

In May, Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek hospital celebrated its 200th successful pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) IVF procedure, in which doctors examine embryos on the molecular level to assist families with pre-dispositions for debilitating genetic disorders to have healthy children.

Dr. Michael Gal, Senior Physician in Shaarei Zedek’s IVF unit, told the Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher that Israel has the highest number of IVF units per capita in the world because of government support and because “we love children here”.

Shaare Zedek Celebrates 200th PGD-IVF Birth

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

With over 13,000 circumcisions under his knife, Rabbi David Fuld has witnessed far too many babies born with horrendous and debilitating genetic diseases, some of whom will never live to see their own Bar Mitzvah. For years, the plight of these children, as well as the financial and emotional price their families were forced to pay disturbed him to no end.

Discussing it with his wife Anita, they decided there must be something they could do to help families that wanted to have children, but were at high risk of having children with devastating genetic diseases.

Rabbi Fuld began searching for a solution and came across the research of Dr. Yury Verlinsky in Chicago. Born in Siberia, the doctor immigrated to the U.S. after – as a Jew – he was forbidden to practice medicine in the former USSR. Verlinsky had developed a genetic screening process called “Polar Body Analysis”, in which a by-product of the egg’s division during meiosis is detached and tested for genetic diseases on a molecular level, with no damage to the rest of the egg.

Rabbi Fuld cut a deal with Verlinsky, and a partnership began where Verlinsky’s technique and research would be developed and a testing and fertilization treatment facility would be established in Israel.

Rabbi Fuld began searching for a hospital in Israel that had both the capabilities and ethical standards he wanted to set up a PGD (Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis) and IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) center.

The search eventually led him to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, well known as “the hospital with a heart,” Shaare Zedek is unique in that it is guided by halachic (Jewish) law and is heralded for the high quality of treatment it offers its patients. Both were important standards for Rabbi Fuld.

Dr. Yonatan Halevy, Director General of Shaare Zedek introduced Rabbi Fuld to Shaare Zedek’s geneticist Professor Ephrat Levy-Lahad.

Rabbi Fuld offered Professor Levy-Lahad $250,000 to set up of a PGD-IVF research laboratory and treatment center, and she laughed as she explained to him that it would cost at least ten times that amount. Typically speaking, it can cost as much as $30,000 per child for PGD-IVF treatment, though over the past two years, Israeli insurance companies have begun to subsidize much of the cost for the first two children.

Rabbi Fuld, wealthy from his real estate holdings, understood the message. The rest, as they say, is history.

The first baby using PGD-IVF was born in 2005, and on Thursday, May 10, 2012, Shaare Zedek celebrated its 200th baby born using this technique. And there are many more babies in the pipeline.

Shaare Zedek: One of a kind

While there are seven genetic screening and fertilization centers in Israel, Shaare Zedek is the only one checking on the molecular level, compared to the more common chromosomal testing. This means the tests are more accurate and able to detect more genetic diseases. No other hospital in Israel has created as many children, and just as important, no other hospital has had as high a success rate in testing, impregnation, and live births as Shaare Zedek.

As anyone who saw the classic dystopian film Gattaca would recall, there are serious ethical issues that must be considered with PGD. PGD can test for gender and other genetic issues completely unrelated to health, which opens up an entire Pandora’s box.

Shaare Zedek is the only Israeli hospital with its own in-house ethical committee, which decides if the applying couples should receive PGD treatment, as well as ensuring that the entire process conforms to Halachah. The department assists Jews and Arabs alike.

Furthermore, as IVF treatments can be personally invasive on a physical and emotional level, the department’s staff of 30 are unusually sensitive to this potential discomfort and act accordingly.

There is also the issue of what happens to the fertilized, but diseased, embryos. Those embryos are used for testing to help the doctors improve their research and treatment. Before beginning treatment, the couples sign a waiver giving their consent.

Rabbi Fuld shared with The Jewish Press a few stories of the people he helped.

One ultra-Orthodox couple, based on genetic screening before marriage, knew they could never have children, as the risk was too high. But what could they do? They had fallen in love, and decided to marry anyway. Not having children was the price they were willing to pay to stay together. But they continued to search for a method that would work for them, and hearing about Shaare Zedek’s groundbreaking research, they flew to Israel for treatment.

Needless to say, they now have a healthy child.

In another unusual story, Shaare Zedek treated a couple afflicted with a form of dwarfism. Research at other hospitals had determined that it’s basically impossible to help such couples conceive a child, much less a healthy one. Yet today, there is a healthy child walking around Jerusalem, who will grow to normal height.

Title: Overcoming Infertility: A Guide for Jewish Couples

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Title: Overcoming Infertility: A Guide for Jewish Couples
Author: Richard V. Grazi, M.D.
Publisher: The Toby Press, New Milford, CT

 

     Many of the readers of The Jewish Press are already familiar with the author of the chapters in this new book. As the editor of what is actually an anthology, he has included chapters by others who are also renowned experts in their respective fields.

 

      At a time when texts issued from medical publishers often run from a high two figures to mid three figures ($80-300), this new 500 plus page book is only $30 (list price) and is one of the closest things to an encyclopedia on the latest information about fertility treatment for Jewish couples having difficulty conceiving.

 

      Dr. Grazi has included sections on the history and background of fertility treatments, the diagnostic methods available for evaluation, methods of therapeutic intervention, ethical issues and a final resource section. Halachic viewpoints predominate, and included are chapters by prominent rabbis and Jewish educators on issues within their purview.

 

      As the medical director of The Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine Clinic, an affiliate of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Grazi has had the opportunity to evaluate and assist many thousands of patients in achieving successful pregnancies. He incorporates the information gleaned from these many cases as well as his years of study and medical training into a book that is as complete as any current medical text – but still eminently readable for the layman.

 

      Any book explaining medical conditions must invariably use medical terminology, and Dr. Grazi has conveniently included a glossary that fully explains the references as well a list of acronyms in current use. There is also a glossary of halachic terminology. The publishers have also included an exemplary index, enabling careful study, subject by subject, to make this into a well-used reference manual. There is an extensive number of beautifully rendered medical illustrations by Dr. Grazi’s son, Joseph, as well as excellent charts and tables. Most of the chapters are presented complete with footnotes and references for further study and research.

 

      Of course, all recent and current technologies are referenced and explained, including PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis), which is especially important in the Jewish community, where there is a significant interest in methods of avoidance of inheritable birth disorders.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-overcoming-infertility-a-guide-for-jewish-couples/2006/08/09/

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