Tool helps doctors tailor infertility treatments for couples

Physicians must consider a number of variables when treating couples who cannot naturally conceive because of factors involving both the woman and man. However, a new tool developed at the University of Iowa helps experts better predict outcomes and choose the treatment method that is most likely to help the couple achieve pregnancy.

The model applies when a woman's own eggs can be used for an advanced form of in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in which a single sperm cell is injected into the female's egg. The model takes into consideration the woman's age, factors that cause the man's infertility, the choice of three different sperm retrieval methods and the choice of using fresh or frozen sperm.

The computational model was created by Moshe Wald, M.D., assistant professor of urology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, and based on previous research and software developed by Craig Niederberger, M.D., associate professor of urology and chief of andrology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

"It has been difficult to predict whether pregnancy will be achieved for couples when different factors are at play. We designed this computational model to help the physician who is planning IVF/ICSI for patients. The physician may use the model to plan the best approach and counsel the patients appropriately," said Wald, who trained under Niederberger and specializes in male infertility.

"The model is not designed for direct use by couples seeking fertility assistance, especially because some of the information required to use the model is technical and not available to the lay public," Wald added.

To use the model, physicians complete an online form and receive an automatic assessment. The data submitted includes information about the man's infertility problem, such as whether it relates to sperm production or an obstruction that prevents sperm from b

Contact: Becky Soglin
University of Iowa

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