An interim analysis of outcomes (as presented today) showed similar rates of fertilisation and embryo cleavage in both groups. However, in 23 out of 35 cycles assessed (65.7%) the top quality embryo selected by an independent embryologist originated from the simplified culture system. In this low-cost group the implantation rate was 34.8% (8/23), with an ongoing pregnancy rate of 30.4% (7/23), with one miscarriage at eight weeks' gestation. The first lowcost baby was a healthy boy (3500 grams, 52 cm) born at 40 weeks' gestation. Up to 31 May this year, 12 healthy babies had been born vaginally.
"Our initial results are proof of principle that a simplified culture system designed for developing countries can offer affordable and successful opportunities for infertility treatment where IVF is the only solution," said Dr Klerkx "This is a major step towards universal fertility care. "If combined with single embryo transfer and low stimulation protocols, we estimate the cost of a treatment cycle can be less than 200 euro - with laboratory costs between 10% and 15% of those in Western-style programmes."
This cost, however, would only be possible if a low-cost laboratory based on the simplified culture system were available. "In developed countries the cost of setting-up a high-quality IVF lab is between 1.5 and 3 million euro, but we would expect to set up a low-cost lab for less than 300,000," explained Dr Klerkx, who added that the construction of a low-cost centre in Genk equipped for simplified IVF should be completed by November this year.
This would provide training for clinics from developing countries and a model for centres to develop themselves. "The simplified lab procedure will undoubtedly open up a new era in the history of IVF," said Dr Klerkx. "The method not only offers affordable and successful access to IVF, but will make eff
|Contact: Christine Bauquis|
European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology