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Breakthrough Technology Takes Egg Freezing From Myth to Dependable Reality

October 24, 2008

NEW YORK, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ — The day of true reproductive freedom for women has arrived. A new scientific study confirms the efficacy of a revolutionary egg selection and freezing process that, at long last, offers women a viable and reliable fertility preservation option.

Developed and clinically tested by the scientists at ReproCure, a vanguard genetics products company, this process increases the live births derived from a cryopreserved egg almost seven-fold over the field’s current standard. In simple terms, it means that for the first time, women in their prime childbearing years can freeze and bank their own eggs for future use, relatively confident that they will have a 26%-to-27% chance of a having a baby from each cryopreserved, genetically selected oocyte. Significantly, these odds are better than those with conventional IVF at its best.

The patent pending process called Egg Competency Testing (ECT), when coupled with ultra-rapid egg freezing technology known as vitrification (a protocol that minimizes egg damage), actually delivers on reproductive medicine’s promise to liberate women from the tyranny of the biological clock.

The stunning results of a rigorous multi-year ReproCure-funded study are published in the current issue of the prestigious journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online.

“Everything we’ve heard before about egg freezing needs to be put away,” said Dr. Geoffrey Sher, Executive Medical Director of ReproCure and the Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM(R)). Dr. Sher is a world-renowned trailblazer in the field of reproductive medicine for more than 25 years.

“I would heartily agree with medical governing agencies that in the past have strongly advised against the use of egg freezing and banking. Up until now, existing technology only offered a 1%-to-4% baby rate per frozen egg…. a false promise of success,” noted Dr. Sher. “But ECT and vitrification, dual processes that allow us to select only chromosomally normal eggs for safe cryobanking are paradigm shifters. They give women a realistic fertility preservation alternative they can count on.”

Normal Egg, Healthy Baby

In essence, ECT, focuses on a relatively new DNA test called Comparative Genomic Hybridization (CGH) to determine which eggs are chromosomally normal (euploid). It’s well established that, barring other compromising medical factors or male infertility, it is euploid eggs that are most likely to yield chromosomally sound embryos, which in turn are the ones most likely to develop into healthy babies.

Indeed, ReproCure/SIRM investigators were able to illustrate that in the vast majority of cases, the transfer of one or two chromosomally normal (competent) embryos to a receptive uterine environment produced a baby almost 70% of the time.

The ECT process involves handpicking chromosomally normal eggs for preservation. Researchers now know that most eggs, even in young healthy women, are chromosomally abnormal (aneuploid). Further complicating things is the fact that the incidence of aneupolidy is random. One month a woman opting for egg freezing may be stimulated to produce 12 eggs and none will be normal. The next month, the same woman might produce six that are normal. The key to a successful outcome is freezing only the euploid eggs. In contrast to the scattershot approach of freezing every egg harvested – a minimum of 20 at most centers, ReproCure’s technique requires that only four or five normal eggs be frozen and banked.

The CGH Factor

CGH is a delicate and complex test that screens the full complement of chromosomes in each egg. ReproCure/SIRM’s dedicated team has an expertise and experience in egg/embryo CGH that is unmatched by any other center in the world, giving it an unbeatable track record in identifying chromosomally normal eggs. Only these are selected for vitrification (ultra-rapid freezing) and banking.

Once frozen, these eggs are stored until the time the woman chooses to create her family.

Until now, family building has been severely constrained by simple biology. If a woman wanted her own biogenetic children, she was under the gun to procreate before her eggs were too old and chromosomally abnormal to generate offspring. That ratchets up the pressure on everything from education to economics and romance. Women who haven’t found the right mate by 35 or who can’t afford to leave the workplace, find themselves penalized by nature. For most, a genetically related child is not possible. If they want to experience pregnancy, the only option is egg donation.

ECT and vitrification does an end-run around the biological clock. It affords a woman the luxury of time, precisely because she’s stored her own eggs while in her reproductive prime. Those oocytes, when properly warmed, fertilized and transferred are as likely to yield offspring in five, 10 or even 20 years as they are today. ECT liberates a woman to achieve emotional, psychological and financial maturity, secure in the knowledge that she can have children of her own.

About Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Dr. Geoffrey Sher, Executive Medical Director and co-founder of SIRM, is an internationally renowned expert in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and has been influential in the births of more than 16,000 babies throughout his career.

Over the last 26 years, Dr. Sher has helped fashion the entire field of ART. After training under “The Father of IVF” Dr. Patrick Steptoe, Dr. Sher established the first private IVF program in the United States in 1982. He later established a number of centers throughout California before founding the first SIRM office – in Las Vegas.

For more than two decades, Dr. Geoffrey Sher and his medical team have been on the leading edge of IVF research. Each significant breakthrough has been incorporated into SIRM treatment protocols – lending the benefit of those many years’ of IVF experience to every SIRM office.

Dr. Sher has more than 200 scientific papers and abstracts to his credit. He has authored one of the most widely read books on IVF, http://www.haveababy.com/why/artbook.aspIn Vitro Fertilization: The A.R.T. of Making Babies

About the Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM(R))

SIRM is one of the largest networks of infertility medical practices in the country. Founded in 1998 by Drs. Geoffrey Sher and Ghanima Maassarani, the Sher Institute family of practices has since grown to include 13 offices across the United States. Dr. Sher founded the first private In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) clinic in the U.S. in 1982. The

SIRM philosophy is centered on individualized patient care, backed by ongoing scientific and technological breakthroughs. SIRM has offices in Los Angeles, Chino Hills, Sacramento and Pleasanton, CA; New York City, Westchester and Long Island, New York; Bedminster and Phillipsburg, New Jersey; Dallas, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; Peoria, Illinois; and Las Vegas, Nevada. More information can be found on the SIRM website at http://www.haveababy.com/.

About ReproCure, LLC

ReproCure, LLC, headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a specialty genetics testing laboratory focused on benefiting: (1) women and couples who require assistance in becoming pregnant and (2) women seeking reproductive alternatives such as freezing their eggs for later use. ReproCure is led by Medical Director Geoffrey Sher, MD and Scientific Director Levent Keskintepe, PhD.

Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine

CONTACT: Heidi Krupp, +1-212-886-6714, hkrupp@kruppnyc.com

Web Site: http://www.haveababy.com/




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