making a baby “in the laboratory” is becoming more and more common

It is the European Fertility Week. In France, one in eight couples consult due to difficulty becoming parents. 10% of couples remain sterile after two years. In Poitou-Charentes, two centers support them: the university hospital in Poitiers and the fertility center in La Rochelle. A difficult, long and full of pitfalls path.

This simple gesture, placing your hands on a belly that houses a baby, is the result of a long journey for Gaëlle Noblet and her partner.
The young woman is 31 when she plans to have a child. But nature is capricious. After a year and a half of “testing children”, her doctor advised her to take tests.

Gaëlle Noblet then turned to the La Rochelle fertility center. 500 in vitro fertilizations, IVF, are performed every year.
That morning, Sarah, 33, embarked on the most important phase of her first in vitro fertilization: the retrieval of the oocytes. The spouse is also asked, he is in the laboratory, at the same time, to donate the sperm.

In this clinic, egg retrieval is performed under general anesthesia.

I’m going to sleep, obviously I won’t feel anything, but now I admit to being stressed

Sarah, undergoing medically assisted procreation

The gynecologist-obstetrician, Nicolas Proust, comments on the progress of this sample: “We introduce the ultrasound probe at the vaginal levelto locate the ovaries. We keep our eyes on the screen and above all on the needle to never lose sight of it. Once the syringe is filled, it is immediately placed in a thermo-heated case in order to respect the heat chain.

The syringe is then immediately transferred to the laboratory. It is the biologist specializing in medically assisted procreation, Olivier Moreau, who takes care of the rest of the operations: “We will look for the oocytes in the puncture liquid to put them aside, separate them and soon put them in contact with the spermatozoa of the spouse in order to favor fertilization which, in a few days, will give rise to an embryo that we can transfer into the uterus of the same. patient”.

After this first stage, several embryos can form. They will be put in a car, very hot.

The embryos are grown for a few days in incubators which are real artificial uteri

Olivier Moreau, medical biologist specializing in medically assisted procreation

This center shows a 35% success result for its in vitro fertilization, against 22% on average in France.
Certainly good figures but which do not hide the difficulties for each course.

To couples I tell them that there is a very good chance that you will have a child with us at the center … But after how many attempts and after what treatments? We can’t know in advance.

Nicolas Proust, gynecologist-obstetrician

We really need to be prepared to chain hopes and disappointments. Now pregnant, Gaëlle has experienced all this. In four years, the young woman attempted three inseminations and it was the second embryo of her in vitro fertilization that worked. An exciting roller coaster ride you won’t forget.

Psychologically, you still have to be strong! You have to accept the failures. We don’t live in a bubble! There is also our room next door with announcements, births around.

Gaëlle Noblet, future mother

He continues, evoking the delicate coexistence between work and this parallel calendar, sometimes made up of several weekly appointments. This follow-up medical protocol requires a lot of energy, physical and mental. In this context, “it is sometimes difficult to have the shape”.

Gaëlle does not want to know if she is male or female. She wants to keep some magic after all these very medicalized years.

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