London -- A study performed in Belgium has shown that low-cost IVF for developing and poor resource countries is feasible and effective, with delivery rates not much different from those achieved in conventional IVF programmes. This proof-of-principle study, say the investigators, suggests that infertility care may now be "universally accessible"."We showed that the IVF methodology can be significantly simplified and result in successful outcomes at levels that compare favourably to those obtained in high resource programs," they note. "We estimate that the cost of our simplified laboratory system is between 10% and 15% of current costs in Western-style IVF programs." They calculate that a cycle of IVF with the simplified procedure can be performed for around 200 euro.
Behind the study lies the huge personal stigma which infertility brings to women in developing countries, who might as a result be disinherited, abused, ostracised and abandoned to a secondclass life in a polygamous marriage. Yet despite a record of 5 million IVF babies born in the world, the treatment of infertility by effective methods remains largely the preserve of developed countries. "Infertility care is probably the most neglected healthcare problem of developing countries, affecting more than 2 million couples according to the WHO," said investigator Dr Elke Klerkx from the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology, Belgium, who presented the study today at the annual meeting of ESHRE.
The low cost IVF system tested in this study was based on an embryo culture method which removes the need for an expensive IVF laboratory with CO2 incubators, medical gas supply and air purification systems.(1) Outcomes from the low-cost culture method were compared with those from a conventional IVF culture system.
The study started in 2012 in IVF patients under the age of 36 and with at least eight oocytes available for fertilisation. The primary outcome measure was embryo quality
|Contact: Christine Bauquis|
European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology