Navigation Links
Fertility treatment in developing countries; a cycle of IVF for less than $200

Barcelona, Spain: After 30 years of IVF, the rewards of treatment are still largely confined to industrialised countries and those who can afford it. Now, a Special Task Force of ESHRE has set about the immeasurable task of making fertility treatment more accessible to developing countries through a programme of pilot projects, professional awareness and involvement of government and non-governmental agencies.

The Task Force faces a huge challenge. According to a report just published in a special monograph of the journal Human Reproduction [1] even the most basic questions about infertility in developing countries cannot yet be answered: how should infertility be defined; how often does it occur; what is the burden-of-disease; what can be spent on health care; how cost-effective should IVF be in order to compete with other interventions . . . and so on.

However, if the task is great, the need is even greater. According to Professor Oluwole Akande from University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria - who spoke at a press conference on Monday 7th July at 12.00 - infertility in developing countries raises problems beyond those known to developed nations. "In poor resource areas," he said, "the need for infertility treatment in general, and IVF in particular, is great. The inability to have children can create enormous problems, particularly for the woman. She might be disinherited, ostracised, accused of witchcraft, abused by local healers, separated from her spouse, or abandoned to a second-class life in a polygamous marriage."

The UN Population Division now estimates that 186 million women of reproductive age in developing countries (excluding China) are infertile, with more than 30% in many African countries unable to have children because of secondary infertility [2]. Six countries in the world have primary infertility rates over 4% - all of them in sub-Saharan Africa, the highest in Cameroon (7.3%) and Central African Republic (10.5%).

The ESHRE Task Force, which is led by gynecologist Dr Willem Ombelet, of Genk, Belgium, proposes three levels of treatment, but its cornerstone is the provision of affordable IVF. Currently, one cycle of IVF treatment in Europe or the USA costs between US$ 5000 and 10,000. A system of low-cost IVF now being pilot-studied in Khartoum and Cape Town (and shortly in Arusha, Tanzania) aims to provide one cycle of IVF for less than $200.

One of the instigators of the low-cost IVF scheme, Professor Luca Gianaroli from the SISMER Reproductive Medicine Unit, in Bologna, Italy, said: "It's a different approach to IVF. We will not be able to treat every type of infertility, but many women with tubal damage as a result of infection can be helped. We're looking at a low-cost scheme and low-cost baby." The scheme has been developed by The Low Cost IVF Foundation, which also aims to provide a complete start-up package of equipment for around $25,000.

The affordable IVF programme, as proposed by Gianaroli and the Foundation, represents level two of a three-level approach to treatment proposed by the task force: level one would offer investigation and IUI in a basic health setting (with semen analysis, hormone assays, follicular scanning and ovulation induction); level two would offer IVF (and diagnostic endoscopy) in a dedicated fertility clinic; and level three would offer ICSI in an advanced IVF unit (with cryopreservation). All three approaches would be developed around existing hospitals and clinics - as is now happening with the pilot schemes.

Said Ombelet: "A universally accessible treatment service is impossible in most developing countries, but a start can be made by integrating low cost treatments into existing family health services, where opportunities exist for contraception, health education, maternity and child care, prevention and treatment of STDs and HIV. We have to make a start, and this is how we're doing it."

But the real challenge, added Ombelet, lies in galvanising the various support agencies in the both the developed world and the developing countries, and that requires health economics data and the will to accommodate infertility treatment within the overstretched lists of healthcare priorities. "People feel uncomfortable talking about it, even indignant," he said. And that, he adds, has been his experience for the past 20 years. "That's why one of the most important aims of this ESHRE Task Force is to battle the silence that exists on the issue of infertility in most developing countries, even among the media and governments. Education in reproductive health is the message we have to take to the politicians, and we have to help them on this."


Contact: Sarah De Potter
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology

Related biology news :

1. Reforestation using exotic plants can disturb the fertility of tropical soils
2. Do chemicals in the environment affect fertility?
3. Disabling mouse enzyme increases fertility
4. USC researchers explore genetic causes for male infertility
5. UT Southwestern researchers identify hundreds of genes controlling female fertility
6. Auto immune response creates barrier to fertility; could be a step in speciation
7. Restoring sight, advances in fertility treatments and better visibility for pilots at FIO
8. New treatment approach promising for lymphoma patients in the developing world
9. Treatment delays result in poor outcomes for men with breast cancer
10. Counting tumor cells in blood predicts treatment benefit in prostate cancer
11. Stroke study reveals key target for improving treatment and suggests that Gleevec may help
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/9/2016)... , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... when it comes to expanding freedom for high net ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there is ... conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal with ... obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship via ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April 26, ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys ... announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile ...      (Logo: ) ... customers enhanced security to access and transact across ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... global gait biometrics market is expected to grow ... 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates multiple variables ... to compute factors that are not or cannot ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler ... of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the z-dimension ... are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. Z-dimension ... bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow cell ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... - FACIT has announced the creation of a ... Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), to ... of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of ... an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential ... patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: