Low-cost in-vitro fertilisation method developed at CU may help couples in developing countries
A new low-cost method of in-vitro fertilisation developed at the University of Colorado Boulder that performed successfully in recent human clinical trials in Belgium may help thousands of infertile couples in developing countries.
The study using the CU-Boulder technology showed that the low-cost of IVF for developing and ‘resource-poor’ countries is feasible and effective, with baby delivery rates roughly the same as those achieved in conventional IVF programs. This proof-of-principle study, say the investigators, suggests that infertility care may now be universally accessible.
The research team showed the IVF methodology can be significantly simplified and result in successful outcomes at levels that compare favourably to those obtained in costlier, more sophisticated programs. The estimated cost of the simplified laboratory system, developed by CU-Boulder Research Professor Jonathan Van Blerkom, is estimated to be between 10 and 15 percent of current Western-style IVF programs. The team estimates that a cycle of IVF with the simplified procedure can be performed for around $250.
Infertility in women living in developing countries can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from blocked Fallopian tubes and endometriosis to ovulation disorders and pelvic adhesions. The personal stigmas often attached to infertile women in such countries can cause them to be disinherited, abused and ostracised. While roughly 5 million IVF babies have been born since 1978, the treatment of infertility by effective methods remains largely practiced only in developed countries.
A professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at CU-Boulder, Van Blerkom performed Colorado