Local clinic taking action to help women on the road to motherhood

Posted at 8:53 PM, Nov 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-08 06:56:26-05

Norfolk, Va. - Nearly seven million women have trouble getting pregnant in the U.S. That's about 11% of all women of reproductive age.

But a new device is now being used to help would be moms and the only one in the state is close to home.

Michelle Clayton could hardly take her eyes off her new little angel, and 7-week old Hamilton was equally glued to his mother’s gaze.

This little guy is Michelle`s second child. She already has a 10 year old, Clayton, and always wanted another baby. But since her divorce she hasn`t found that special someone yet, and at 45, she felt the clock was ticking.

“The older I got the fewer options I realized I might have an I got to a point where I though well if you don`t try it you might completely miss any opportunities you might have to have another child,” says Clayton.

So Michelle went to the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk – the very place where the first successful INVITRO baby was conceived in 1981.

Fertility doctors including embryologist Dr. Kirk Kotze helped Michelle using donor sperm and eggs and something new—an embryoscope.

“The embryoscope is a combination of incubator and microscope. The microscope can be set at how often you want to take a snap shot,” says Dr. Kotze.

So it’s like a babysitter and nanny-cam all in one taking thousands of pictures during the three - six day incubation period which strung together look like a video.

“The embryoscope basically reveals to us what embryo or embryos to pick,” says Dr. Kotze. “Which will give the patient a better chance of having a baby and sooner.”

Before they started using the new embryo sitter, Dr. Kotze and his colleagues would have to pull the embryos out of the incubator once a day to see how they are 'behaving'  providing only a fraction of valuable information.

We are trying to identify the embryos that have the highest potential to become a baby and by evaluating them and using the embryscope, it pin points us closer to identifying that embryo.

The Jones Institute started using the embryoscope less than a year ago. It`s the only clinic in Virginia using it and little Hamilton is the first baby born using the new device.

"They got, I think it was fourteen eggs, fertilized twelve, they picked the best two and transferred those two to me and here we are!"