Science has come to human aid anew, with an improved and inexpensive fertility treatment. Effortless IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) opens a new window of hope for childless couples with limited fertility options. A breakthrough in the field of fertility science, the traditional IVF technique helped push the birth numbers in the US alone to more than 1.5% in the year 2013.1 However, many couples refrain from opting for IVF as it offers a pretty expensive choice.
On the occasion of Valentines Day, this very year, Effortless IVF, opened as a fertility clinic in Calgary, Alberta in Canada. It started offering a one-time DIY IVF for couples in exchange for a donation of $4000. Within 65 days, the number of interested couples, also called the “founder patients” increased to 100, with 19 of them signing up for the treatment on the very first day. For patients that came later, the charges amounted to $6500, which is almost half the amount that goes into IVF treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the treatment in November 2017.2
How Are The Two Different
In traditional IVF, the fertilization of the eggs and sperms happens outside the body. It involves extracting the eggs from the woman through surgical means, while the sperms are retrieved from the man. Effortless IVF shares the same methodology except for the fertilization process. Unlike the usual IVF technique, where the egg and the sperm are fused in a petri dish and then placed in the incubator, effortless IVF involves placing the extracts in a capsule called INVOcell. The 3 by 4-centimeters capsule is then transferred to the woman’s vagina, which acts as a natural incubator, providing all the favorable conditions for the embryo’s development. This method is called Intravaginal Culture (IVC).3 After 5 days, the capsule is removed and as in done in the traditional IVF, the healthier embryos are transferred to the uterus.
Why Effortless IVF Is Comparatively Cheaper
Being inquisitive about the drop in costs is evident. In the US, the usual IVF costs $12,000, excluding the cost of medications, which comes up to somewhere between $3000-$5000. The skyrocketing charges are attributed to the usage and management of incubators. In the traditional process, specialists ensure that the incubator constantly maintains favorable conditions for the embryos. Additionally, they also monitor embryonic development for 5 days after the fertilization.
In effortless IVF, the incubation is allowed to take place naturally, inside the woman’s body, which provides the right conditions for the embryo to develop. As there is no requirement for artificial incubation, the costs cut down substantially. The woman undergoes ultrasound only once, which is 10 days after the INVOcell is placed in her body.
Another factor that further helps reduce the overall charges is the medicinal cost. In IVC patients, the medicines are prescribed according to the woman’s health, age, and body weight, without any adjustments throughout the treatment. On the contrary, IVF treatment requires her to take drugs to stimulate the maturing and release of the eggs. The altering drug dosage in IVF also requires regular monitoring appointments including blood tests and ultrasounds, which makes it an expensive affair.
Comparison Of The Success Rates
When couples decide to go for IVF, it is certain that they have already contemplated the heavy costs involved. The one question that should and does arise in their minds is how successful IVC is in comparison to its traditional counterpart. Research results reveal that there is no significant difference between the success rates of IVC and IVF, with a live birth rate of IVF as 60% as compared to 55% in IVC.4
The success rates in both the cases are, however, largely dependent on the health of the couple, age of the woman, and their lifestyle habits.
The clinic offering IVC treatment is first of its kind in the whole world. But, they are planning on expanding, giving couples who are paying an arm and a leg for infertility treatments a ray of hope.
|↑2||US Food and Drug Administration, 2016. Evaluation of automatic class III designation (de novo) summaries.|
|↑3||Ranoux, Claude, François Xavier Aubriot, Jean Bernard Dubuisson, Vito Cardone, Hervé Foulot, Catherine Poirot, and Olivier Chevallier. “A new in vitro fertilization technique: intravaginal culture.” Fertility and sterility 49, no. 4 (1988): 654-657.|
|↑4||Doody, Kevin J., E. Jason Broome, and Kathleen M. Doody. “Comparing blastocyst quality and live birth rates of intravaginal culture using INVOcell™ to traditional in vitro incubation in a randomized open-label prospective controlled trial.” Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics 33, no. 4 (2016): 495-500.|