Couples in Atlantic Canada who are struggling to conceive can access one of the country’s top fertility clinics in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Atlantic Assisted Reproductive Therapies (www.aart.ca) is the first fertility clinic in Canada to adopt the most up-to-date technology for assessing and preparing eggs and embryos for fertility procedures.
The new climate-controlled Cell-Tek chamber will enable the clinic to improve its pregnancy success rates—already among the best in Canada at more than 55 per cent per cycle started for women under 35—while nearly doubling the fertility procedures it can perform each year.
“We have the capacity to handle 500 in vitro fertilization cycles a year, with utmost attention to the quality and wellbeing of the embryos,” says Dr. Linda Hamilton, AART’s medical director. “Not only do we provide the safest possible environment for preparing embryos, we have introduced an instant freezing method that protects embryos’ integrity when implantation needs to be delayed.”
Embryos are frozen for many reasons. One is to allow for genetic testing when there’s a risk of a genetic disorder like cystic fibrosis, hemophilia or other serious inherited condition. AART’s embryologists have trained intensively to perform the delicate task of removing two- or three-cell samples from the layer of the embryos’ cells that will form the placenta, which are sent to New Jersey for genetic testing. In this way, unaffected embryos can be identified and thawed for implantation.
AART has been training its staff and equipping its facilities to freeze and store eggs as well. “Women who require chemotherapy or radiation for cancer, for example, face a high risk of infertility,” notes AART physician Dr. Michael Ripley. “We can freeze their eggs or embryos, so they have the option to pursue pregnancy when they recover their health.”
Established by Dalhousie Medical School’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology in 2004, AART operates as a self-sustaining, not-for-profit clinic serving the four Atlantic Provinces.
“Infertility is not a choice but an increasingly prevalent problem faced by one in six couples in Canada,” says Dr. Hamilton. “It can be devastating. We’re proud to help couples build the families they so deeply desire, with success rates as high as anywhere in the country.” – CNW