New Type of IVF Treatment to Aid Conception
A private UK fertility clinic has been offering couples with a new type of IVF treatment which helps conception to take place in the womb instead of, in the lab. Doctors are hoping that making fertilisation more natural would mean healthier pregnancies. The first to use the AneVivo device method is the Complete Fertility clinic in Southampton which is a tiny tubular capsule that is loaded with the sperm and egg prior to being placed into the uterus.
Prof Nick Macklon head of the clinic has insisted that it is not a ploy and has informed BBC that `at this stage we are just offering it to private patients and if the NHS prefers to use it then they would need to know that it is cost effective. We do not know that yet but that does not mean new technology like this cannot be introduced in a cautious manner. I’m very keen that we study new innovation in IVF’.
The cost of the techniques is around £700 per go and has gained the approval of the UK’s fertility watchdog, the HFEA. According to Prof Macklon, international trials among 250 women indicate that it tends to achieve a similar pregnancy rate to conventional IVF.
Aim – Maximise Time Spent in the Body than Lab
However, it tends to reduce how long the growing embryo remains artificially outside the womb in a dish of culture fluid. According to Prof Macklon, `the aim is to maximise the time spent in the body rather than in the lab. The immediate advantage is in reducing exposure at this vulnerable time of human development when the genes are switched on and off. Some studies have stated that growing embryos in a dish tends to increase the risk of genetic as well as other health defects.
It is not known yet if the womb device would be an improvement Conventional in vitro fertilization – IVF treatment, includes the eggs which are removed from the ovaries, fertilised with sperm cells and placed in a tiny capsule which is then placed painlessly in the womb for 24 hours during which the embryos tends to develop.
Doctors then remove the device of around 1 cm long and 1 mm wide. After 2-4 days, they then select the embryo which is adequately healthy to implant it back into the lining of the womb, hoping to achieve pregnancy.
Breakthrough in IVF Treatment
Prof Macklon is of the belief that the device could be a breakthrough in IVF treatment since it will enable women to care for an embryo in its initial stage of development for the first time. Earlier studies have indicated that babies born from IVF treatment tend to have a lower birth weight. Though not an issue, low birth weight has been connected to long term health which the researchers intend to improve.
Prof Macklon of the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, UK, is of the opinion that long-term health in babies born through IVF can be improved by spending shorter time in the laboratory. He had been involved in the creation of the new device AneVivo. Psychologically it is said to bring parents-to-be, closer to the fertilization procedure and early embryo development.
Moreover it can provide health benefits for the new born, since fertilization could take place in the natural environment of the womb with admission to nutrients as well as signs or indications from the mother. It would also decrease exposure to the synthetic culture fluids that is utilised in the laboratory.