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What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common metabolic and hormonal disorder caused by an imbalance of the female reproductive hormones. This hormonal imbalance can cause problems with the ovaries, preventing the egg from being properly developed or from being released during ovulation.
Absent or irregular menstrual periods are quite common for PCOS patients. Irregular periods can lead to:
- Infertility (inability to get pregnant)
- Cysts in the ovaries
One in every ten women of childbearing age is affected by this condition. Women of all races and ethnicities after the age of puberty are at risk of PCOS. Some causes and risk factors for developing PCOS include obesity, genetics, hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance, etc.
The exact cause of PCOS remains unknown. However, a positive correlation between genetics/hormone levels and PCOS has been discovered in recent studies. Experts suggest that possible causes of PCOS include:
- Genetics. The reason you may have PCOS can be partly determined by your genes. Women who have a mother, sister or aunt affected by this condition are at an increased risk for developing the same metabolic abnormalities. There’s no single gene for PCOS. This may be an explanation why PCOS has a wide range of symptoms and appears at different ages in women between the ages of 14 and 44.
- High levels of androgens. These hormones are known as “male hormones”. All women produce small amounts of androgens. Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens. This could potentially lead to abnormal menstruation, preventing the egg from being released from the ovaries. Additionally, PCOS can cause, among other symptoms, extra hair growth and acne.
- Insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that controls the process of transformation of food into energy. Insulin resistance is when the cells in your body do not respond normally to insulin. With insulin signals being ignored, the female’s body becomes unable to transfer glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. This triggers the production of even more insulin, which ultimately leads to higher levels of insulin in the blood and several other health problems.
Getting Pregnant with PCOS
PCOS affects around 10% of all women. Most women with PCOS can get pregnant with a combination of lifestyle changes and fertility treatment.
Here are some lifestyle changes that can improve your chances of conception:
- Aim to eat a healthy, varied diet and make sure you exercise. Drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or training is very important. Reducing even 10% of your body weight can bring your periods back to normal. Losing weight can also help relieve some of the symptoms associated with PCOS.
- If you smoke, you should quit. Smoking can make it harder for women with PCOS to conceive. Studies showed that smoking can increase your adrenal levels, decrease prolactin levels and cause blood clots if you are using birth control pills.
- Reduce stress. Stress can cause havoc in your endocrine system. Reducing stress can keep your hormones and cycle more in balance.
IVF for PCOS
It’s imperative that you see a fertility specialist with extensive experience in the field of reproductive medicine if you are considering getting pregnant. In vitro fertilization (IVF) Cyprus is an extremely successful treatment for women with PCOS. This treatment option involves medical therapy specifically designed to facilitate egg production and ovulation. IVF Cyprus involves using fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce more mature eggs. When ready, the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries in a procedure called egg retrieval. Those eggs are then fertilized with sperm using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) Cyprus method.
Once the eggs have been fertilized, they are left to grow in the lab for between 3 to 5 days. During the grading cycle, fertilized eggs (now called embryos) are monitored to make sure they are developing adequately. Two to three top-quality embryos are transferred into the mother’s uterus on day three or day five following an ICSI procedure. This step in the IVF process is called embryo transfer. Twelve days later, our IVF specialist will order a pregnancy test to see if the procedure has worked.
IVF Cyprus Medication for PCOS
Before we can determine what medication protocol might best for you, you will be required to undergo a fertility assessment. Only then we will be able to develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Different medication is used for PCOS patients. Your health is our top priority and we do everything to make sure that your treatment plan is adjusted only to you and your needs.
Patients undergoing IVF treatment in Cyprus start taking injectable fertility drugs on the second day of their cycle. This step of the IVF process is known as ovarian stimulation. PCOS patients are recommended doses lower than the normal doses for patients who don’t suffer from this condition. This is done in order to prevent hyperstimulation in patients who are sensitive to fertility drugs.
- Birth control pills
Birth control pills are medicines which are used to help regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the female patient for ovarian stimulation. Your test results and medical history will indicate whether birth control pills are needed for your IVF treatment in Cyprus.
- Stimulation Injections
During the IVF Cyprus cycle, you will be stimulated using fertility drugs to encourage the production of multiple eggs. Having more eggs to fertilize means that there will be a greater chance for pregnancy success. The stimulation injections contain the same hormones that are produced in the female body. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone that stimulates the production and maturation of an egg. FSH works best when it’s given by injection. Luteinizing hormone (LH) is another fertility hormone that helps control the maturation of the eggs in the ovaries.
It takes around 9 to 10 days to produce multiple eggs although this timeline may be subject to change as the egg development is different for each euroCARE IVF North Cyprus patient.
- Ovulation injections
Regular monitoring through ultrasounds and blood work is required to avoid the risk of hyperstimulation in women with PCOS. Normally, PCOS patients have two scans before coming to Cyprus. In IVF, medication is used to trigger ovulation. A final injection is administered prior to egg retrieval to encourage the release of mature eggs in the ovaries.
- Post Transfer Supplementation
Following an embryo transfer procedure, a special medication is prescribed to prepare the uterus to accept the embryos. Patients start hormonal support immediately after the embryo transfer. This medication aids implantation and supports pregnancy in the first few weeks.
Getting Pregnant with PCOS After 35
Women with different hormone profiles and at different ages need different treatment. For patients over 35, an individualized treatment plan developed by our top fertility specialists can make pregnancy achievable. If you still have a good ovarian reserve and are producing good-quality eggs, then you can attempt for a pregnancy using your own eggs.
Will I need an Egg Donor
Age-related decline in fertility is the primary reason why a woman who is trying to conceive after the age of 35 may want to use an egg donor. Once you’ve decided to use an egg donor, the next step is to decide what type of arrangement works best for you – anonymous or non-anonymous (known) egg donation. If you decide to use an anonymous egg donor, you should only work with a reputable clinic like euroCARE IVF in North Cyprus that follows rigorous recruiting and screening guidelines. The same procedures and guidelines apply to known egg donors (this could be your friend or family member). Women considering using an egg donor should have a complete fertility assessment before starting treatment.
Eggs are obtained from young, healthy women who are then fertilized in the lab using the partner’s sperm. Our leading fertility clinic in North Cyprus uses innovative technology to assist egg fertilization. The resulting embryos are transferred to the recipient’s uterus on day 3 or day 5 after fertilization. Egg donation in North Cyprus is a well-regulated assisted reproductive treatment which gives intended mother full parental rights over the child or children born as a result of egg donation.
How to Improve Egg Quality for IVF with PCOS
It’s normal for a woman who is struggling with PCOS to want to do everything to make conception happen quickly. There are a few simple changes you can make to improve your overall health including:
- Losing weight. For PCOS patients who want a baby, it’s very important to reduce a few pounds before conception. Research shows that losing even 10 percent of your weight can improve ovulation and fertility in general. Look into your lifestyle habits. Are you doing any exercises during the day? Are you smoking or drinking alcohol? This can be a good starting point for you to work on over the course of the next few months. For women with PCOS, it’s important to exercise moderately to avoid any complications that over-exercising can cause to your health. Ask a personal trainer for advice for the right exercise regimen in your case. Start with light exercises like yoga, walking, light jogging, or swimming.
- Improving nutrition. Food can improve your fertility and egg quality. PCOS patients have different dietary needs so working together with a certified dietician is a great idea to improve your diet. You can improve fertility by eating:
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Foods containing complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, peas, and beans.
- Lean proteins, like those found in legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), nuts, and seeds, as well as animal proteins like fish, chicken breast, and eggs.
- Foods rich in healthy fats, such as nuts and avocado.
We advise you to consult with our fertility doctor for any supplements you may consider taking before trying IVF in Cyprus. There are many vitamin supplements available on the market, and we strongly recommend you choose only third-party certified supplements from reputable brands.
- Reducing stress
High levels of stress activate the stress hormone cortisol. In the long run, cortisol increases the production of insulin in the female body which can cause hormonal imbalance and ovulation problems. To reduce stress consider starting with low-impact exercises like yoga or Tai Chi. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, guided imagery, mindfulness, or deep breathing.
IUI or IVF for PCOS
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) Cyprus makes pregnancy possible by placing pre-washed sperm directly in the patient’s uterus. This treatment won’t work for women who do not ovulate or who ovulate infrequently.
PCOS can disrupt the normal pattern of ovulation, causing ovulation problems and inability to support a developing embryo. In IVF, an egg is retrieved from the ovaries and is then fertilized outside your body. At the beginning of your treatment, you’ll take fertility drugs designed to stimulate egg production and trigger ovulation. The resulting embryos are cultured in the lab for between 3 to 5 days. Before being transferred, embryos are dipped into a sticky solution called embryo glue to facilitate implantation. By avoiding many issues related to the egg or sperm production, we can increase your chances of successful fertilization and implantation. IVF has a success rate of about 70%, which is significantly higher than the success rate of IUI.
IVF for PCOS at euroCARE IVF
The greatest worry of women with PCOS is whether they will be able to get pregnant. Although PCOS is associated with fertility difficulties, women affected by this condition should know that pregnancy is possible. euroCARE IVF offers different treatment options designed to streamline treatment for PCOS patients. Make sure you discuss all fertility issues caused by this treatable condition with our fertility specialist. A customized treatment plan can help you increase your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy through IVF and delivering a healthy baby.
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