WB Grant Enables IVF Treatment for Women with Severe Fertility Challenges 

Thanks to a grant from the Women’s Board, the first successful egg retrieval for In Vitro Fertilization has been completed at the east Baltimore Johns Hopkins Hospital!  

The Johns Hopkins Fertility Center routinely provides services at Greenspring Station where the embryology laboratory is located.  For some women, however,  complex medical conditions, require advanced hospital-based anesthesia care  for the small surgical procedure needed to remove eggs from the ovaries.  Prior to receiving the Women’s Board grant, the Fertility Center was not able to perform egg retrievals at the main Johns Hopkins hospital due to lack of specialized equipment needed for egg retrieval and transport to the laboratory at Greenspring Station.

Eggs retrieved from the ovaries are highly precious and extremely fragile. They must remain at exactly 37 degrees Celsius. Any shifts in temperature can destroy their viability.  To perform hospital-based egg retrievals requires an incubator with a microscope in the operating room to identify and isolate the eggs, a warmer to maintain temperature, a transport incubator to safely transfer the oocytes to the embryology lab, and a specialized ultrasound to safely perform the procedure.

Now, thanks to Women’s Board funds for purchase of this equipment, the Center has successfully begun its hospital-based egg retrieval IVF program.  There is a waiting list of patients for this service that includes women with special anesthesia requirements because of heart defects, sickle cell disease, and a history of organ transplants.  While many of them cannot carry a pregnancy themselves, they can safely undergo the small surgical procedure for removal of eggs from their ovaries under the guidance of Johns Hopkins multidisciplinary teams.  Then their dreams of having a biological child will become a reality with the help of a gestational carrier. 

Funds from the Women’s Board provided the incubator and scope, ultrasound, and mobile isolette that made this program a reality.  The Fertility Center is grateful to the Board for the generosity that made this possible.