Deep inside Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, a dedicated team of doctors, technicians, and geneticists, armed with an alphabet soup of treatments with names like IVF, PGD and PGS, spend their days helping couples overcome serious fertility issues. Shaare Zedek, which has been providing medical care to Jerusalem since 1902, is on the cutting edge of assisted reproductive technologies, making the miraculous seem almost routine.

Prof. Jonathan Halevy, who stepped down in March 2019 as director-general at Shaare Zedek, explains, “At Shaare Zedek, we have created an infrastructure able to recognize the potential for new medical technologies and find ways to integrate them for the benefit of our patients. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are prime examples of this approach.”

According to the hospital, Kupot Holim medical organizations in Israel cover the cost of IVF and PGD fertility treatments until the couple has up to two children via these procedures. Other countries are much more restrictive in the amount of IVF treatments that are offered, and costs are much higher – a situation that Halevy says has helped make Israel an innovator in these technologies.

The IVF process involves three stages: ovarian stimulation, which increases the number of eggs; egg retrieval and fertilization using sperm in a lab environment; and embryo transfer into the uterus, which results in pregnancy. Of the hundreds of IVF procedures that are performed each year at Shaare Zedek, 75% are performed for couples who have difficulty conceiving. The remaining 25% of the IVF procedures are associated with PGD.

First developed in 1990, PGD allows doctors to perform genetic profiling of embryos prior to implantation and is used to prevent certain genetic diseases or disorders from being passed on to the child. more >