Dr. Dennis Matt
Virginia IVF & Andrology Center
There is no greater gift than the gift of life. As scientific director and co-founder of the Virginia IVF and Andrology Center (VAIVF), Dr. Dennis Matt has provided this gift to patients struggling to have a successful pregnancy. Over the course of 25 years, Dr. Matt watched the world of assisted reproductive technology (ART) evolve. He recalls the significant milestones of ICSI’s procedural development, the success of vitrification, and the present day use of Next Generation Sequencing.
Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) is now the predominant method for treating patients at VAIVF. Being able to test embryos for chromosome abnormalities has improved pregnancy rates and reduced the risk of miscarriage. In 2014, Dr. Matt’s team only performed PGT on 10% of patients and in 2017 the percentage jumped to 65%. To meet the increased demand, Dr. Matt uses both the ZILOS and LYKOS to perform blastocyst trophectoderm biopsy for PGT.
Dr. Matt first purchased the ZILOS in 2005 to perform embryo biopsies and laser assisted hatching. Following the satisfaction of using the product, Dr. Matt purchased the LYKOS in 2016. He enjoys that our lasers are dependable and user-friendly. “Every day, I know these lasers perform consistently without errors in either the mechanics or software,” he says, “What’s great about both systems is that the user software is nearly identical, so it is easy to go from one to the other.”
Although PGT is now a well-developed procedure, there are still obstacles that may prevent a successful outcome. Dr. Matt states, “The challenge for PGT is being able to biopsy the blastocyst to get enough cells for a reliable genetic read while not taking too many cells to impede the ability of the blastocyst to develop, implant and establish a healthy pregnancy.” Therefore, it is imperative that embryologists perfect their micromanipulation skills. As a hands-on director who dedicates as much time as needed to assist his staff, Dr. Matt appreciates that our lasers are easy to train junior embryologists to use. “My younger embryologists really enjoy using the LYKOS with its RED-i feature and the ability to view the target through the objective. We really enjoy the video and camera features which are easy to use and accessible with a click of the mouse.”
Dr. Matt continues being a Hamilton Thorne customer because he feels, “the quality of the products I have used are unsurpassed. In addition, the technical support is top notch and I know if I ever need technical assistance there is a knowledgeable person a phone call away.” He also notes that the Hamilton Thorne sales team consists of technical experts who understand all the products.
The process of undergoing ART procedures can be a long, daunting journey for patients, but Dr. Matt states, “We believe we have developed a method which gives us a 99% genetic read rate and a 70% pregnancy rate for our PGT patients.” Using the ZILOS and LYKOS for PGT has provided a safe, stable procedure for hopeful mothers. Dr. Matt concludes by saying, “the most satisfying aspect of being an embryologist is to see after all the technically challenging methods you have to perform, a patient gets to fulfill their dream to have a healthy baby.”
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