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April 06, 2016

San Francisco, CA – April 6, 2016 – Erin Fischer, BS, TS (ABB), Pacific Fertility Center (PFC) embryologist, will lecture to reproductive specialists on vitrification advances at the 6th Congress of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE) on April 7 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Ms. Fischer helped lead PFC’s early adoption of blastocyst and oocyte vitrification in 2006 and has continued to advance this program.

During her lecture, she will share specific aspects of PFC’s successful vitrification protocol, including stringent attention to both cooling and thawing rates, and proper technique for loading oocytes or blastocysts on the vitrification device. PFC has also developed a method to ease hatching of the embryo, given that vitrification can harden the outer shell surrounding it (the zona pellucida).

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March 19, 2015

San Francisco, CA – March 19, 2015 - Pacific Fertility Center embryologists have, for the first time, described the effect of active embryo expansion and contraction on embryo hatching and pregnancy rates after in vitro fertilization.

Using time-lapse video imaging and high resolution microscopy, the expansion and contraction of embryos prior to implantation was observed. Frozen embryos that fail to re-expand in volume by 20-50 percent in the first 2 hours after thawing result in significantly lower rates of ongoing pregnancy, according to study results published in the February issue of Fertility and Sterility. The paper was co-authored by Sergio Vaccari, PhD, senior embryologist at Pacific Fertility Center (PFC), and Joe Conaghan, PhD, PFC lab director.

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February 20, 2015

San Francisco, CA – February 20, 2015 – On February 2, 2015, the Pacific Fertility Egg Bank celebrated its 100th embryo transfer, reaching a significant juncture in the history of the bank, which opened in August of 2012, making it the first freestanding egg bank in Northern California. “This has been a labor of love,” said Daragh Castenada, program director of PFC’s Egg Donor Agency and the Pacific Fertility Egg Bank. “We’re all incredibly excited about this milestone.”

In 2007, PFC was among the first to begin using new egg-freezing technology (vitrification), which paved the way for the launch of its frozen donor egg bank. However, it first spent several years refining laboratory techniques to ensure the best of outcomes for patients.

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February 12, 2015

At the ASRM meeting in October in Honolulu, HI, PFC Embryologists sat down for updated vitrification training using a new technology from Cryotech, Japan.  Although we have been vitrifying eggs and embryos since 2006, and are therefore one of the most experienced labs in the world, there are always opportunities for improvement.  Here we are exploring a new method for egg vitrification that claims to give better survival than current methods.  

Pictured from left to right:  Amy Kittleson (PFC Embryologist), Maria Guadalupe (Cryotech trainer), Joe Conaghan, PhD (PFC Lab Director) and Sergio Vaccari, PhD (PFC Embryologist).

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December 16, 2014

San Francisco, CA – December 16, 2014 - The Pacific Coast Reproductive Society has accepted a Pacific Fertility Center (PFC) paper for oral presentation at its 63rd Annual Meeting, which runs from March 11-15, 2015, in Rancho Mirage, CA. The paper is entitled “Timing of Blastocyst Hatching after Vitrification and Warming: Impact on Clinical Pregnancy Rate.” Out of 100 submissions, it is one of eight selected for oral presentation.  

A strong membrane (zona pellucida-ZP) forms around the ovum during development in the ovary. Previous evidence suggested that freezing (vitrification) alters the properties of this membrane, possibly warranting its removal prior to frozen embryo transfer (FET) in certain cases.