IVF as cheap as £170, doctors claim
The cost of IVF could be cut dramatically from thousands of pounds to around £170 to begin a “new era” in IVF, fertility doctors from Belgium claim.
Twelve children was born throughout the technique, which replaces expensive medical equipment with “kitchen cupboard” ingredients.
Data, presented at fertility conference in London, suggests the success rate is analogous to standard IVF.
Experts said there has been big potential to open up IVF to the developing world.
Fertility treatment is pricey. Inside the UK, it costs around £5,000 per cycle.
High levels of the gas carbon dioxide are needed when growing embryos in an IVF clinic that will control the acidity levels. Here’s maintained using carbon dioxide incubators, medical grade gas and air purification.
Instead, the team on the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology mixed inexpensive citric acid and bicarbonate of soda to provide carbon dioxide.
Lead researcher Prof Willem Ombelet said: “We succeeded with a virtually Alka-Selzer like technique. Our first results suggest this is at the least nearly as good as normal IVF and we’ve got 12 healthy babies born.”
The results, presented to the eu Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference, showed a pregnancy rate of 30% – approximately almost like IVF.
The researchers believe the price of IVF will be cut to simply 10-15% of services in Western countries.
‘Not for everyone’
The technique cannot completely replace conventional IVF.
It wouldn’t help men with severe infertility who require more advanced treatment wherein the sperm is injected into the egg, known intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection.
However, Prof Ombelet told the BBC the purpose was to bring fertility treatment to the remainder of the sector.
“In case you wouldn’t have a toddler in Africa, or also South America or Asia, it is a disaster. It is a disaster from an economic perspective, a psychological perspective. They throw you out of the family. You’ll want to help them and no-one helps them.”
Even in rich, Western, countries many couples are still unable to afford IVF and the studies are attracting interest.
“Now we have demand from the united states already.”
Geeta Nargund, at St George’s Hospital, London, is planning to introduce the techniques to the united kingdom: “Now we have a duty to bring down the price of IVF, otherwise we’ll have a situation where only the affluent can afford it.”
Stuart Lavery, the director of IVF at Hammersmith Hospital in London, said the study had the possible to have a huge impact globally.
“This is not nearly affordable IVF in west London, this can be all about are you able to bring IVF to countries that have unsophisticated medical services where infertility has a surprisingly low profile.
“They’ve show that using an extremely cheap, quite simple technique you could culture embryos and you’ll do IVF.
“The weakness of the study is they’ve done it in a huge lab in Belgium, so that they need exit and do the identical study in Africa now. But when here is real potentially you’re talking about bringing IVF to corners of the area where there is no such thing as a IVF. Here’s enormous, the aptitude implications for this might be quite amazing.”
The researchers anticipate starting out in Ghana, Uganda or Cape Town.