Intra-venous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIg) is an option for couples that have unexplained failed implantation or implantation failure based on an immune problem. In this specific group of patients, they have good quality embryos or blastocysts, but have failed to achieve a pregnancy after several embryo transfer attempts.
At the Markham Fertility Centre, most of the patients that have IVIg also have assisted hatching done on their embryos at the 8-cell stage, be we have also used it during blastocyst transfer.
The concept for IVIg is a simple one. Immunoglobulins are extracted from blood samples generated from people donating blood to the Canadian Blood Banking Service. More than 1000 people must donate blood for a patient to receive enough of these cells for treatment. The amount given is based on your weight, and for most women, the amount received is about 500-750 ml. Therefore, this form of therapy is, essentially, a blood transfusion. All samples have been thoroughly screened for all infectious agents including Hepatitis B, C, the AIDS virus (HIV) and the West Nile virus. By receiving immunoglobulins in the form of a transfusion, your own immune system is altered in a way to possibly allow your own embryos to implant following embryo transfer. There are many theories explaining why this form of therapy may work, but the exact mechanism of action is unknown. There are usually no side effects following the transfusion.
At the Markham Fertility Centre, we have obtained excellent pregnancy rates following IVIg therapy in couples that have had repeated IVF failures.