Reproductive Medicine Center
Karolinska's Reproductive Medicine Center specializes in complex investigations and advanced treatments of infertility in both men and women. The center offers a full range of different types of assisted reproductive technology treatments. The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare has also given it responsibility for managing highly specialized care of patients in need of preimplantation genetic testing (PGT).
We perform around 1,100 oocyte aspirations and transfer about 2,000 fresh and frozen embryos yearly. About 500 children are born annually after treatment at Karolinska's Department of Reproductive Medicine.
In addition to assisted reproduction by in vitro fertilization (IVF) with or without intra- cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) methods, the program for international patients includes the following areas:
Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT)
Alternative to traditional prenatal diagnosis involving the diagnosis of a genetic defect in an embryo before implantation, which therefore requires undergoing IVF/ICSI. The advantage of PGT compared to conventional prenatal diagnosis is that pregnancy can be initiated without the expected child suffering from the detected disease. The risk of needing an abortion is thereby minimized. So far, more than 300 children have been born after PGT at Karolinska.
The clinical program for fertility preservation started at the department in the 1990s and has since been at the cutting edge of development. Medical indications for fertility preservation include treatments for cancer and chronic diseases and genetic conditions associated with an early loss of fertility. Patients presenting those indications may undergo gamete storage to preserve their chance of having children later in life. Ejaculated or testicular sperm, ovarian tissue, oocytes, and embryos can be cryopreserved and stored for this purpose.
Cryopreservation of sperm
Patients scheduled to undergo gonadotoxic treatment such as chemotherapy or testicular surgery, for example, can be offered to submit sperm samples for freezing and storage at our department.
Cryopreservation of oocytes (eggs)
Patients planning to undergo treatments with an inherently high risk of infertility are offered the possibility to freeze eggs. Women with a steady partner may choose to fertilize the eggs and then freeze the embryos.
Cryopreservation of ovarian tissue
Young patients needing to start their cancer treatment within a short period can preserve ovarian tissue. The tissue is retrieved during surgery using minimally invasive methods, such as laparoscopy.
Retrieving sperm by microsurgery (mdTESE)
In cases where there is a lack of sperm cells in the ejaculate, the Department of Reproductive Medicine applies the most recent technology by retrieving sperm cells through microsurgery: mdTESE technology. We have a good success rate with this new technology, which allows sperm retrieval in cases where there is a lack of sperm in the ejaculate.
This highly specialized clinic includes a multidisciplinary team of gynecologists, endocrinologists, pediatricians, pediatric surgeons, psychiatrists, and geneticists examining and treating patient groups with disorders of sex development (DSD), chromosomal disorders including Turner syndrome, premature ovarian insufficiency, hormone-producing tumors, and gynecological malformations. The investigations include endocrine profiles in blood and urine, karyotype and DNA analysis of specific mutations, anatomical investigation of malformations by specialized ultrasound and MRT, and evaluation of bone mass and body composition with DXA. Many patients need lifelong hormonal substitution and some highly specialized corrective surgery. The clinic is integrated with the Women's Health Research Unit, where the patient groups are included in various clinical trials aiming to develop new treatment alternatives and fertility preservation. This integrated clinic for highly specialized gynecological endocrinology and clinical research is unique.
The Reproductive Medicine Center has an extensive medical education program, including teaching activities for both medical and graduate students and continuing education for post-graduate fellows. The department is also an ESHRE/EBCOG accredited education center in reproductive medicine for specialists in gynecology and obstetrics.