Action News Jax Investigates: Medical Examiner's Office toxicology testing could be outsourced

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

Action News Jax investigates the major problem that delayed criminal cases in Northeast Florida for weeks.

That backlog was due in part to the an old piece of equipment that broke at the Duval County Medical Examiner’s office. Inside the office, critical tests are done that prosecutors and defense attorneys rely on every day in the criminal justice system.

But according to a new document, the Medical Examiner’s Office is not accredited, meaning those tests could be called into question.

“The risks are fairly high,” said Action News Law and Safety expert Dale Carson. He said the accreditation gives them a more credible voice in the courtroom.

Medical examiner Dr. Valerie Rao agrees. She wouldn’t do an on-camera interview, but told us that’s why they want the city to hire an outside lab to start doing toxicology tests. It would also give the office its accreditation.


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She said right now, the turnaround time for toxicology tests is 10 days, and the office tests roughly 1,300 cases every year. But in May, a crucial piece of equipment broke, causing a backlog for weeks. Rao’s office maintains that wouldn’t have happened if they outsourced to this new lab with better, newer equipment.

While outsourcing will cost taxpayers more, Rao said they can’t keep doing what they’re doing with the current resources.  While no tests have been questioned yet, Carson said it only takes one.

“It would trigger a review of all the previous cases handled this way,” said Carson.

The ME’s office said it has now caught up on that backlog. If the Jacksonville City Council approves the plan to bring in the outside lab, Rao said they could have that accreditation by the end of the year. The State Attorney’s Office said no cases have been impacted.


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Revenue Update on Concord Medical Services (NYSE:CCM)

Concord Medical Services(NYSE:CCM) announced the earnings results for Fiscal Year 2015 and Q2. The results came in during After-hours on Aug 17, 2015. Earnings per share were $0.14. The reported EPS was above estimates by $0.12 or 600.00%. Analysts had estimated an EPS of $0.02.

Currently the company Insiders own 29.04% of Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited Company shares. In the past six months, there is a change of 0% in the total insider ownership. Institutional Investors own 14.3% of Company shares. During last 3 month period, 0.71% of total institutional ownership has changed in the company shares. Shares of Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited (NYSE:CCM) appreciated by 9.82% during the past week but lost 16.74% on a 4-week basis. The shares have outperformed the S&P 500 by 9.08% in the past week but underperformed the index by 15.35% in the last 4 weeks.

Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited has dropped 23.4% during the last 3-month period . Year-to-Date the stock performance stands at -16.22%.

The company shares have dropped 33.5% in the past 52 Weeks. On September 9, 2014 The shares registered one year high of $8.25 and one year low was seen on August 11, 2015 at $4.76. The 50-day moving average is $6.09 and the 200 day moving average is recorded at $6.67. S&P 500 has rallied 6.56% during the last 52-weeks.

Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited (NYSE:CCM) : On Friday heightened volatility was witnessed in Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited (NYSE:CCM) which led to swings in the share price. The shares opened for trading at $5.3 and hit $5.49 on the upside , eventually ending the session at $5.37, with a gain of 2.09% or 0.11 points. The heightened volatility saw the trading volume jump to 47,641 shares. The 52-week high of the share price is $8.25 and the company has a market cap of $241 million. The 52-week low of the share price is at $4.76 .

Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited (Concord Medical) operates a network of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging centers in China. As of December 31, 2012,its network comprised 136 centers based in 76 hospitals, spanning 53 cities across 24 provinces and administrative regions in China. These hospitals are substantially comprised of 3A hospitals, the highest ranked hospitals by quality and size in China as determined in accordance with the standards of the Ministry of Health. In June 2012, the Company acquired through Cyber Medical and Shanghai Medstar 52% of the equity interest in Changan Hospital. In December 2012, the Company acquired 19.98% of equity interest in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Proton Therapy Center, a proton treatment center in the world.

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Biz Buzz for Aug. 17

* The Duluth News Tribune hired  Brandon Veale as a copy editor. Veale previously was at the Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton, Mich., where he was the sports editor. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he also worked at the Daily Press in Escanaba, Mich., and interned at the Mining Journal in Marquette, Mich.

Tamara Lowney was hired as business developer for Area Partnership for Economic Expansion. Lowney will work on all aspects of attracting, expanding and retaining business in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. She also will support APEX’s partner, the Itasca Economic Development Corp. in Grand Rapids. She has 17 years of management experience and extensive knowledge in project management.

* The University of Minnesota Duluth appointed  Melissa Honkola as director of human resources and equal opportunity. Honkola graduated from UMD with a degree in business administration and has worked in St. Louis County’s human resources department for the past 15 years.

Dr. Matthew Severs joined the staff of Superior Animal Hospital and Boarding Suites in Superior. Severs received a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Scholastica and earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State University. His special interests are in neurology, internal medicine and surgery.

* Essentia Health announced the following hires.

 Dr. Darren Perttu, a general surgeon, joined Essentia Health-Hayward Clinic. Perttu earned a medical degree from Michigan State University in East Lansing, where he also completed his residency in general surgery.

Psychotherapist  Julianne Davis joined the behavioral health department at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic and Essentia Health-

Hermantown Clinic. Davis earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Argosy University in Eagan, Minn.

Hospitalist  Dr. Tochukwu Igwe joined Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. Igwe earned a medical degree from the University of Nigeria College of Medicine in Enugu, Nigeria, and completed a residency in internal medicine at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City.

 Dr. Lisa Arvold, an emergency medicine physician, joined Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. Arvold earned a medical degree at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. She completed a residency in emergency medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in emergency medicine.

 Dr. Gratia Pitcher joined Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center as a hospitalist. Pitcher earned a medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo and completed a residency in internal medicine at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Center for Medical Studies. She is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in internal medicine.

* St. Luke’s announced the following:

 Dr. Luke Midlo, an internal medicine physician, joined St. Luke’s Internal Medicine Associates. Midlo received his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica, West Indies. He completed an internal medicine residency at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation in La Crosse, Wis.

Emergency medicine physician Dr. Brock Urie joined the St. Luke’s Regional Trauma Center. Urie received his medical degree at the University of Minnesota School of medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at Western Michigan University School of Medicine in Kalazazoo.

St. Luke’s Regional Cancer Center hired radiation oncologist  Dr. Nils Arvold. Arvold received a medical degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston. He completed an internship in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and a radiation oncology residency in the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program. Arvold is board certified in radiation oncology. He previously practiced at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital, all of Boston. He was an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and has 40 peer-reviewed publications. He served as director of the radiation oncology fellowship program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Pulmonolgist  Brian Aebly joined St. Luke’s Pulmonary Medicine Associates. Aebly received a doctorate in osteopathy from Des Moines (Iowa) University. He completed an internal medicine residency and a pulmonary and critical care fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Aebly is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary disease and is board eligible in critical care.

Mark Walkowiak joined Bell Brothers and Jarvi Dowd funeral homes as a family service adviser. He has an extensive finance and insurance background. Walkowiak’s specialty is in funeral preplanning.

* TKDA announced the following hires.

 Will  DeRocher, a Duluth native, was hired as a graduate engineer in the Municipal Services Division. DeRocher has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Before joining TKDA, he worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Research Institute at UMD, where he co-authored several scientific papers. He has been working on Hermantown school projects.

 Michael Iallonardo of Duluth was hired as an engineering specialist in the Rail Division. Iallonardo has 18 years of engineering and design experience and is a licensed master electrician. He has served as a foreman on a variety of electrical upgrade projects for several Northland clients, including BNSF Railway Co., Western Lake Superior Sanitary District, Sappi Fine Paper and the College of St. Scholastica.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

* Essentia Health announced the following:

 Teri Manisto, Essentia Health organizational learning and development leadership and staff development coordinator, was recognized as Employee of the Year. Manisto was the creator of Essentia’s “Pay it Forward” program. She has been in the organization for four years and an Essentia Health employee for five years.

Essentia Health’s Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation oncology program received national recognition at the program’s national conference in Boston where STAR coordinator Joan Jeanetta spoke. The program, which focuses on helping patients heal physically and emotionally from cancer, began two years ago. More than 200 professionals have been certified in the program.

* Knutson Construction promoted  Ryan Christenson to project manager. Christenson has been managing the $20 million Essentia Health parking ramp project in Duluth, which started in 2013 and is scheduled to be completed in the next few months.

Kenneth D. Butler of the law firm of Kenneth D. Butler Ltd. was named a 2015 Minnesota Super Lawyer for the second consecutive year. Butler concentrates in the areas of business law, litigation and municipal law. He also serves on the boards of directors for the Duluth Airport Authority, Goodwill Industries and Bentleyville.

* Coldwell Banker East West Realty of Cloquet announced  Ron Tondryk was the top listing agent for July, and  Pat Turonie was the top selling agent.

Bridget A. Brine of Brine Law Firm Ltd. completed 36 hours of training to become a qualified neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice for civil mediation and arbitration including the areas of real estate, employment and debtor/creditor matters.

* Emily Silverness was the top sales agent for July at Century 21 Gilderman & Associates Inc.

OPEN HOUSE/EXPANSION

* Pioneer Critical Power/Titan Energy Systems announced the opening of Titan  Energy’s Duluth-based sales and service operations center at 4206 Enterprise Circle. The company works in sales, service and management of onsite power generation assets for industrial, commercial and institutional customers. It recently was awarded a contract with a national wireless carrier for the addition of 1,400 critical radio tower sites in the Midwest.

Food Farm offers an open house from 2-4 p.m. Saturday at 2612 County Road 1 in Wrenshall. Tours of the farm and root cellar will be given, and there will be hayrides and other family activities.

FORMER RESIDENTS

* Attorney and Duluth native  Cyri (Lillejord) Wiggins was hired by Maslon Law Firm and will practice law in the real estate and financial services group. Her area of focus will be commercial real estate transactions. Wiggins is a graduate of the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth and Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul.

Send your business openings or closings, personnel changes or other news in the business community to Biz Buzz, Duluth News Tribune, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802, email biz@duluthnews.com, or fax (218) 720-4120. The deadline for submissions is noon Friday.

Tax revenue on medical marijuana lower than expected

medical marijuana evaluation center

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — It’s been two years since Rhode Island launched its medical marijuana market and opened dispensaries around the state, but tax revenues haven’t been quite as high as state officials expected.

There are now three medical marijuana dispensaries — also known as compassion centers — selling pot to patients in Rhode Island, with the state collecting a 4 percent surcharge and a 7 percent sales tax on all their sales. While revenues are increasing, some compassion centers say they’re facing increasing competition from caregivers who can grow and sell medical marijuana without paying taxes to the state.

“There are people out there who’ve made this a fulltime business,” said Chris Reilly, a spokesman for the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence. “It’s a competitive force that’s real.”

State officials report that medical marijuana revenues are about half of what was predicted as the state prepared to legalize compassion centers. The dispensaries don’t have to disclose sales figures but the state discloses aggregate figures for the revenues it collects.

In 2012, the Rhode Island Department of Revenue estimated that sales tax from medical marijuana would total approximately $2 million and that the surcharge would total approximately $1.1 million by 2016. Now, the department is projecting that sales tax will be about $1 million and the surcharge about $675,000 in fiscal year 2016.

“One million dollars is nothing to sneeze at, but if you think about meals and beverages, on the sales tax side, that’s about 20 percent of our sales tax, that’s $150 million to $160 million a year or more,” said Paul Dion, the chief of the Office of Revenue Analysis at the state Revenue Department.

The Revenue Department’s estimates in 2011 were based on estimates it received from compassion centers as they prepared to open, Dion said. The department did not take into account an increase in caregivers because it expected the compassion centers to do that, he said.

In 2011, there were 2,732 licensed caregivers; now there are 3,245, according to the Health Department.

Though 6,259 patients are registered with Slater, fewer than half have actually purchased marijuana from the facility, Reilly said.

While the revenues have been lower than projected, they are increasing. The Rhode Island Division of Taxation reports the amount of surcharge revenue the state collects increased from $269,156 in 2014 to $385,724 in 2015, a 43 percent increase. The number of medical marijuana patients has also increased, from 4,241 in 2011 to 11,620 this year, according to the latest data from the state Health Department.

Dion said the overinflated revenue projections could be attributed to delays in getting the dispensaries up and running — the third compassion center didn’t open until 2014 — and changes to the state’s medical marijuana statute. When projections were first made, for example, there was no cap on the number of plants a center could grow; such a cap was imposed but has since been eliminated.

Dion acknowledged that a competing source of medical marijuana could impact compassion centers, though he pointed out that caregivers are not supposed to make a profit under the law.

Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana in 2006. Compassion centers were legalized to offer patients another option for purchasing it.

About 10,000 medical marijuana patients are registered at one of the state’s three compassion centers. In addition to the compassion centers and caregivers, patients can also choose to grow their own.

John Roska: The latest on medical marijuana in Illinois

Q:When will medical marijuana actually be available in Illinois?

A: In late 2013, I said it could be mid-2014. Last October, I said it could be early to mid-2015. Now it looks like the first legal sales of medical marijuana won’t be until this October. But that estimate could be as wrong as the others.

The “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” was signed into law August 1, 2013, and went into effect January 1, 2014. It legalized the possession and use of marijuana under a doctor’s care.

Under the law, “qualifying patients” with a “debilitating medical condition” can get medical marijuana from a “registered dispensing organization,” who get their pot from a “registered cultivation center.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health began taking applications to be a card-carrying “qualifying patient” on Sept. 2, 2014. The first approvals followed shortly.

Licenses for cultivation centers and dispensaries were granted on Feb. 2, 2015. But because cultivation centers had to jump through lots of hoops before they could grow anything, planting wasn’t authorized until July 10.

Since then, one cultivation center has said its product could be in dispensaries in “early October.” That would be a little more than 2 years since the law went into effect.

Dispensaries won’t open until the first medical marijuana is harvested. Whenever that finally happens, medical marijuana will finally be available for consumption.

So far, about 3,500 people have applied and about 2,800 have been approved for an official “registry identification card.” Ten of those approved are under 18.

To repeat some prior information:

It costs $100 to apply, or $50 if you get disability benefits from Social Security. To get a card, a treating M.D. or D.O. must certify that you have a “debilitating medical condition,” and you must pass a criminal record check. (A felony drug conviction disqualifies you.)

The law now lists 33 specific debilitating conditions. The Cannabis Advisory Board has recommended that 11 more conditions be added, including PTSD.

An approved “cardholder” can buy the legally designated “adequate supply” of 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 2 weeks. Web sources suggest that’s 5 to 10 joints a day, depending on whether they’re half- or full-gram.

If your doctor says that’s not enough, you can get more. But, you can’t possess more than 2.5 ounces at a time, so you can’t accumulate a stash.

Cards apparently designate the dispensary where a cardholder must buy the marijuana. The weekly limit of 2.5 ounces is strictly for personal use. Cardholders can’t share or exchange with other cardholders, and can’t grow their own.

When medical marijuana is finally available, cardholders can consume it on private property, as long is it’s not a day care center. They can’t possess or use it on a school bus, on school grounds, or in a correctional facility.

The regulations also say medical marijuana can’t be used in “any public place,” but then go on to say just not in “any public place where an individual could reasonably be expected to be observed by others.”

John Roska is a lawyer with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. You can send your questions to The Law Q&A, 302 N. First St., Champaign, IL 61820. Questions may be edited for space.

Hendrick opening new medical plaza in south Abilene

ABILENE, Texas –

Hendrick Medical Center expanded health care to south Abilene at its new plaza, and KTXS took a tour Friday.

The 38,000 square-foot facility is located at 4302 Buffalo Gap Road and will officially open Monday.

“We are hoping to make people … less stressed, less anxious about going to the doctor,” Dr. Jeffrey Edwards of the internal medicine department said. “Maybe making it more convenient will allow more people to become invested in their healthcare.”

One portion of the plaza will offer internal medicine and rheumatology. Internal medicine will begin seeing patients on Monday. Rheumatology will start accepting patients in mid-September.

The practices offer 24 exam rooms, according to office manager Christian Cardenas. Internal medicine has two doctors on staff, and there will be one rheumatologist on staff. However, Hendrick said there is room for expansion.

A pediatric office will be opening on the other side of the plaza and is set to accept patients in early September. There will be two doctors there every day, but those doctors will rotate between clinics. A nurse practitioner will be stationed at the clinic permanently.

The plaza also offers radiology and laboratory services. X-rays and ultrasounds will begin running on Aug. 17. CT services will be available in October. Lab work can start being processed on Monday.

Meek Blood Center will have an office inside the plaza with four blood draw stations set to open on Aug. 31.

Additional spaces are also available for physician offices.

Inflammatory bowel disease may be treatable with gel-delivered drugs

Using hydrogel to precisely target and deliver drugs to affected tissue shows promise as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.
drug-loaded hydrogel and inflamed colon

The disease-targeting hydrogel system sticks to sites of inflammation and releases medicine over time.

Image credit: BWH

So concludes a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston who, with colleagues from other research centers, report their findings in Science Translational Medicine.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects over 1 million Americans and is on the rise around the world. IBD is an umbrella term for a group of chronic, debilitating inflammatory intestinal conditions, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

There are limited treatment options for patients with IBD, many of whom rely on daily enemas to relieve symptoms, which include severe diarrhea, pain, fatigue and weight loss.

However, such treatments are not only uncomfortable and impractical, they can lead to side effects where drugs are absorbed by healthy tissue.

In their study, the researchers describe how a hydrogel made in the lab offers a potentially better way to deliver drugs in IBD via enemas that target inflamed tissue.

The team showed how the hydrogel stuck to sites of inflammation and slowly released the drug dose it was carrying over time.

Corresponding author Jeff Karp, an associate professor who heads a lab that develops advanced biomaterials and devices for therapeutics, says:

“We realized that if we could develop a disease-targeted hydrogel system that rapidly attaches to ulcers and slowly release drugs at the site of inflammation, then we could create a better way to deliver medicine only where the drug is needed.”

Hydrogel would mean once-a-week instead of daily enemas for IBD

The researchers suggest their findings will lead to a type of enema that IBD patients will only have to use once a week instead of every day. Also, it will have no systemic side effects and there would be no need to retain the enema as the gel quickly attaches to ulcers.

To make the self-assembling hydrogel, the team used ascorbyl plamitate (AP), a material that is already approved for use in the US. AP is negatively charged and anchors itself to positively charged sites of tissue damage.

Co-first author Dr. Sufeng Zhang, a chemical engineer who is researching self-assembled hydrogels at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, says:

“The materials we selected form a gel, which has the capacity to carry drugs. We designed the gel to both target inflamed tissue or ulcers and release drug only at sites of inflammation.”

The hydrogel incorporates a corticosteroid drug routinely used to treat IBD. The gel only disassembles to release the drug when it encounters a certain enzyme that is present at inflamed sites.

Tests showed the hydrogel delivered drug to inflamed sites

The team tested the hydrogel in two ways. First, they used mice genetically engineered to have a form of ulcerative colitis and showed that drugs delivered via the hydrogel relieved inflammation more effectively than when administered via traditional enemas.

Fast facts about Crohn’s disease

  • Crohn’s disease is a type of IBD that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract
  • The disease often spreads deep into affected tissue
  • Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains and cramps, blood in the stool, reduced appetite, and unintended weight loss.

Learn more about Crohn’s disease

The researchers also showed that in the mice that received the hydrogel-based therapy, their bloodstreams had 5-10 times lower concentrations of the drugs compared to mice receiving the drugs via traditional enema, suggesting the hydrogel-based delivery results in less drugs reaching the rest of the body.

And secondly, in tissue samples from human patients with ulcerative colitis and in another mouse model of colitis, the hydrogel showed a preference for sticking to inflamed regions rather than healthy tissue.

The team now plans to replicate these tests with other drugs and also run more preclinical tests before starting trials in humans.

Co-first author Dr. Joerg Ermann, a rheumatologist at BWH, says their study is a good example of how drug delivery can be improved by focusing on disease-specific features, and concludes:

“We have found that the hydrogel approach works well in mice and our data look promising that it might also be an effective strategy in humans with inflammatory bowel disease of the colon.”

In February 2014, Medical News Today learned how a team at the University of Illinois at Chicago is developing an approach that uses nanoparticles to treat inflammation-causing immune cells. The nanoparticle system precisely targets malfunctioning immune cells without interfering with cells that are functioning correctly.

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

Wednesday: Leadership Change in Fort Drum's Medical Team

Fort Drum’s medical department has a new commander.

In a change of command ceremony Tuesday, the medical department – known by its acronym, MEDDAC – saw its leadership pass from outgoing commander Colonel Matthew Mattner to Colonel John McMurray.

McMurray said he was loking forward to “serving the soldiers and operating the health system and working with this very unique system that we have up in the north country.”

Unlike many Army bases, Fort Drum does not have a hospital on-post, which has resulted in close collaboration between Drum’s medical personnel and the hospitals of northern New York.

Col. McMurray and family are from Hawaii.

IVF: use of frozen eggs linked to poorer live birth rates

The use of frozen eggs, or oocytes, for in vitro fertilization leads to lower live birth rates than the use of fresh eggs. This is the finding of a new study published in JAMA.
In vitro fertilization

IVF using frozen eggs produced a 43% live birth rate in 2013, while the live birth rate for traditional IVF was 50%.

Traditionally, fresh oocytes that have been donated for in vitro fertilization (IVF) have been used for fertilization straight away. The created embryos can be transferred into the uterus immediately or frozen (cryopreserved) for use at a later date.

In recent years, however, oocyte cryopreservation has grown in popularity, in which a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen and stored. When a woman decides she is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed and fertilized via the standard IVF procedure.

A number of studies have suggested the success rates of IVF with frozen eggs are comparable to those of IVF with fresh eggs. As such, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) published a joint guideline in 2013 declaring that oocyte cryopreservation “should no longer be considered experimental.”

However, before universal oocyte cryopreservation can be recommended, the ASRM-SART guideline called for “more widespread clinic-specific data on the safety and efficacy” of the technique.

Still, some fertility clinics in the US have introduced frozen donor egg banks, encouraged by research indicating IVF using oocyte cryopreservation is just as successful as traditional IVF.

In this latest study, Dr. Vitaly A. Kushnir, of the Center for Human Reproduction in New York, NY, and colleagues set out to assess outcomes of IVF using oocyte cryopreservation in routine clinical practice – something the team says has not previously been investigated.

7% lower live birth rate with oocyte cryopreservation

The researchers analyzed 2013 data from 380 fertility centers in the US. These centers performed 92% of all IVF cycles in the country that year, according to the authors.

The team identified 11,148 oocyte donation cycles, of which 2,227 (20%) involved the use of cryopreserved oocytes, and the live birth rates of each IVF technique were compared.

Fast facts about infertility

  • In the US, 1 in 8 couples have problems getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy
  • Around 7.4 million women in the US have ever received infertility services in their lifetime
  • Less than 3% of infertility cases in the US are treated with assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF; around 85-90% of cases are treated with surgical procedures or medication.

Learn more about infertility

The results of the analysis revealed that live birth rates with the use of oocyte cryopreservation for each completed IVF cycle were lower at 43%, compared with 50% with the use of fresh oocytes.

For each embryo transfer, live birth rates were 47% with the use of frozen oocytes and 56% with the use of fresh oocytes.

While the researchers are unable to pinpoint the exact reasons for lower live birth rates with the use of oocyte cryopreservation, they hypothesize that it may be down to the reduced amount of eggs used for this IVF procedure.

“In traditional donor egg therapy (using fresh eggs), the recipient gets all the eggs the donor makes (typically 15-25),” James Toner, president of SART, explained to The Washington Post. “When frozen eggs are employed, only a batch of 6-8 eggs are provided. This has a big effect on outcomes!”

In addition, Dr. Kushnir and colleagues say it is possible that oocyte quality could be compromised during the freezing and thawing process.

They stress, however, that their research should be “viewed with caution,” noting that they did not account for potentially confounding factors, such as the age of egg donors and recipients and infertility diagnosis.

Elsewhere on Medical News Today, a new study published in the Journal of Endocrinology suggests retrieving oocytes earlier in the IVF process may improve success rates for older women.

Written by Honor Whiteman