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As the Sci­en­tific Di­rec­tor of the IVF ATHENS CEN­TER and ac­cord­ing to your col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, what are the crit­i­cal fac­tors that make a couple choose your fer­til­ity clinic?

We ac­knowl­edge that in­fer­til­ity is a chal­lenge for both our IVF team and the couple, sci­en­tif­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. This mu­tual ef­fort is what fu­els our ap­proach: we work closely with each pa­tient and de­velop a per­son­al­ized treat­ment plan, re­spect­ing their needs and lead­ing them to the achieve­ment of their goals. No “dis­counts”, no com­pro­mises are made when it comes to ser­vice, sci­en­tific ex­per­tise and val­ues. Our high­est stan­dards of prac­tice are de­picted in the ISO Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of our Em­bry­ol­ogy Lab­o­ra­tory, which is definitely an ad­di­tional re­as­sur­ance for the couple.

IVF and age lim­i­ta­tions: Are there any new tech­niques able to break the bar­ri­ers of age?

In­deed the age of both men and women has al­ways been a sub­ject of con­tro­versy among the as­sisted re­pro­duc­tion com­mu­nity. Post­pon­ing a preg­nancy for med­i­cal and per­sonal rea­sons (eg women di­ag­nosed with can­cer or women who wish to have chil­dren later in life) is now pos­si­ble thanks to the cut­ting- edge pro­ce­dures of Egg Cry­op­reser­va­tion and Vit­ri­fi­ca­tion. Think of it as a way to “freeze time”! Oocytes and Blas­to­cysts can be frozen us­ing the lat­est tech­nolo­gies to give the chance of achiev­ing preg­nancy in the fu­ture with the re­pro­duc­tive po­ten­tial of a pa­tient’s present self! Suc­cess rates us­ing vit­ri­fied eggs and em­bryos are equal and in some cases, we gained even higher re­sults. Also, the use of the new­est and most spe­cific phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal pro­to­cols, tips the bal­ance in fa­vor of ev­ery­one wish­ing to cre­ate a fam­ily, even at a later time.

Is there a way to mit­i­gate a pos­si­ble un­suc­cess­ful out­come in IVF pro­ce­dures?

The best ap­proach is to put into prac­tice the most up-to-theminute meth­ods such as In­tra­cy­to­plas­mic Mor­pho­log­i­cal­ll­y­s­e­lected Sperm In­jec­tion (IMSI), Phys­i­o­log­i­cal ICSI (PICSI) and Laser As­sisted Hatch­ing (HA) and as­sess new ones that emerge from the lat­est sci­en­tific re­search. Our lab­o­ra­tory is ap­ply­ing a spe­cial sys­tem of mi­cro­scopic mon­i­tor­ing of the em­bryos (Time Lapse). In this way we con­stantly re­ceive up­dated in­for­ma­tion about em­bryo de­vel­op­ment and the pos­si­bil­ity of suc­cess­ful im­plan­ta­tion. In ad­di­tion, Pre-im­plan­ta­tion Ge­netic Di­ag­no­sis (PGD) is the key method to elim­i­nate chro­mo­so­mal ab­nor­mal­i­ties and pre­vent ge­netic diseases or mis­car­riages. On top of that, pi­o­neer­ing in the field of As­sisted Re­pro­duc­tion, we are now test­ing the prob­a­bil­ity of an em­bryo im­plan­ta­tion, with the novel tech­nique of quan­ti­fy­ing the Mi­to­chon­drial DNA (MTDNA).

Med­i­cal Tourism: a thriv­ing busi­ness. What makes Greece stand out as a des­ti­na­tion?

Greece of­fers a unique blend of nat­u­ral beauty, con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion (an in­ter­sec­tion be­tween con­ti­nents) history, di­ver­sity and hos­pi­tal­ity. Along with the high­est qual­ity health­care ser­vices and the fa­vor­able le­gal set­tings, it is a per­fect breed­ing ground for Health Tourism. Specif­i­cally for IVF pro­ce­dures, the com­pet­i­tive cost, the skyscrap­ing suc­cess rates and the min­i­miza­tion of wait­ing time (no pa­tients will stum­ble upon a wait­ing list) have made Greece one of the best choices for bat­tling in­fer­til­ity. IVF Athens Cen­ter is proud to have suc­cess­fully treated many in­ci­dents from abroad, which are a liv­ing proof of their ex­cel­lent med­i­cal and over­all ex­pe­ri­ence. We have to en­sure a safe and pleas­ant stay in com­bi­na­tion with su­pe­rior fer­til­ity care.

Egg Do­na­tion Pro­grams: Are there any hid­den risks or com­pli­ca­tions that cou­ples should be aware of be­fore they pro­ceed?

The de­ci­sion to re­ceive ge­netic ma­te­rial from a donor is a very sen­si­tive is­sue that de­mands thor­ough at­ten­tion and ex­am­i­na­tion. Our ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence guar­an­tees that all le­gal and health re­lated as­pects are cov­ered and there is anony­mous and discreet han­dling of ev­ery pa­tient or donor. Cou­ples trav­el­ling from over­seas will re­ceive, apart from metic­u­lous ther­a­peu­tic aid, an all-in­clu­sive treat­ment in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and trans­porta­tion.

Dr. Vasil­ios Athana­siou, M.D, PH.D, Gy­nae­col­o­gist- Sci­en­tific Di­rec­tor of the IVF Athens Cen­ter

INFO 5, Ki­fis­sias Ave., 15123, Marousi, Athens, Greece, 30 210 6859500-502 [email protected]­fa­then­scen­ter.gr www.iv­fa­then­scen­ter.gr

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