The costs involved in IVF mainly relate to two elements; The amount of fertility drugs used and the costs of the laboratory. Conventional IVF laboratories use very advanced equipment and are highly expensive to run.
With the Simplified Culture System (SCS), an enclosed culture system in a smaller ‘shoe box sized ‘ environment developed by the Walking Egg project, IVF can be carried out without the need of a full laboratory, thus massively reducing the costs.
In Mild Stimulation IVF, lower dosages of fertility drugs are used than in conventional fertility treatment. This results in a milder response, more natural and friendly to the body. In addition it is safer, has less side effects and is less expensive.
Mild Stimulation IVF
Conventional IVF aims to stimulate the ovaries with such amounts of fertility drugs that they produce large numbers of follicles. This can however affect the quality of the eggs developing in these follicles. Aiming to increase stimulation and collect lots of eggs is not always a healthy approach. Apart from lower egg quality, conventional IVF can give significant side effects.
Conventional IVF stimulation regimes are associated with the risk of ovarian hyperstimmulation syndrome (OHHS) or ovary torsion. Other negative effects include emotional stress, abdominal discomfort, headache, mood swings and weight gain. Moreover uncertainties remain regarding long-term health risks. Mild Stimulation IVF promotes safer and more patient friendly protocols in which the risks and side effects of treatment are minimized.
Mild IVF is carried out within the natural menstrual cycle and with minimal doses of fertility drugs in order to achieve a mild response to stimulation. The focus is on quality of eggs and embryos, not quantity. A more gentle stimulation and working with your body, rather than against it, Mild IVF aims to collect a smaller number of eggs, but of a higher quality. This approach results in a number of advantages and success rates with Mild IVF are excellent.
The advantages of Mild IVF
Higher quality embryos Studies have shown that egg and embryo quality are better in Mild IVF compared with Conventional IVF.
Better implantation The lining of the womb is more favourable for implantation in Mild IVF. The high stimulating drugs and oestrogen levels in conventional IVF can adversely impact the chance of implantation and affect the future health of the baby.
A more natural and patient-friendly approach with less stress Unlike in conventional IVF treatment we do not shut down your menstrual cycle. The treatment is carried out in your own natural menstrual cycle and the associated physical and emotional stress in considerably reduced compared with conventional treatment.
Shorter treatment time Mild IVF treatment is significantly shorter than conventional treatment, taking only 2 weeks. Combined with the reduction in side effects from having fewer drugs, treatment becomes much less stressful.
Safer treatment Mild Stimulation IVF is safer than conventional IVF. The fact that it uses fewer drugs means that the risks and side effects, including the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) are reduced.
More affordable Because we use fewer drugs, the cost is reduced compared with conventional IVF.
Simplified Culture System (SCS)
The Walking Egg Foundation is a charity sprung from the University of Genk, Belgium which has been working with a group of scientists with the aim of reducing cost of IVF while maintaining the quality, therefore access to IVF would increase both in the Western world and in developing countries.
The Walking Egg developed a Simplified Culture System (SCS), which is an enclosed culture system in a smaller ‘shoe box sized‘ environment. With this system, IVF can be carried out without the need of a full laboratory, thus massively reducing the costs.
A study has recently been carried out in Belgium which showed that both fertilisation and pregnancy rates were the same using the SCS as they were in traditional IVF. 50 babies have, so far, been born using the SCS, and more women are currently pregnant as a result of this treatment.
To read this study click here: Reproductive BioMedicine Online journal.