The study is part of the Walking Egg Project, http://www.thewalkingegg.com/thewalkingegg, an international project aiming to raise awareness surrounding childlessness in resource-poor countries and to make infertility care, including assisted reproductive technologies, available and accessible for a much larger proportion of the world population.
The low-cost culture system developed by Van Blerkom, which can fit in a shirt pocket, is designed to go anywhere, including off the grid, allowing it to be independent of the complex and costly infrastructure required by IFV programs in the developed world. "The system uses low-cost components, does not require complex microprocessor controlled incubators and is a closed system that generates its own unique atmospheric and culture conditions required for normal fertilization and embryogenesis using inexpensive, common chemicals," he said.
Van Blerkom's low-cost culture system is based on an incubator system consisting of two sealed glass tubes. A chemical reaction initiated by combining baking soda and citric acid in the first sealed glass tube generates an atmosphere that includes a specific percentage of carbon dioxide. The atmosphere is then transferred into the second glass tube holding the culture medium.
The connection between the two glass tubes -- needles and tubing -- can easily be removed once the equilibrium between the two glass tubes is achieved. Oocytes and sperm are then injected by syringe into the tube containing the culture medium without disturbing the air environment inside the tube.
To date, 12 healthy babies have been born using the new method, said Van Blerkom.
The Belgian study started in 2012 with IVF patients under the age of 36 with at least eight oocytes, or
|Contact: Jonathan Van Blerkom|
University of Colorado at Boulder