A groundbreaking study has developed a ‘no frills’ IVF kit which will cut the price of IVF from thousands of pounds to just £170. The new kit could be made available to the thousands of infertile British couples who are denied treatment on the NHS and who cannot afford IVF.
The new kit, which has been developed by scientists in Belgium, could see fertility treatment made available for a fraction of present costs. Currently, once cycle of IVF costs around £5,000 in the UK. These developments could see costs reduced to as low as just £170.
This new method, which involves combining basic kitchen ingredients bicarbonate of soda and citric acid, has been shown to produce the same results as the much more costly method which involves the use of carbon dioxide in incubators. Results from the study show a pregnancy rate of 30%, approximately the same rate as for conventional fertility treatment.
Creators claim it would only take 30 minutes to train up lab staff in the far more basic technique. This could lead to fertility treatment centres becoming available all around the country providing low cost IVF.
Currently around 10% of UK couples will require fertility treatment. Dr Nargund, who is on the board of the international project, said, “We are going to set this up because there is a need to reduce the cost of IVF for everybody.”
However, this breakthrough will not only benefit British couples but will also be of great significance to those in developing countries. In many places, such as Africa, South America and Asia, infertility can be a huge problem. Researchers hope that these developments will help to bring IVF to parts of the world where it is currently not an option.
It is believed that the new low cost IVF kits could be made available in Britain in a couple of years time.
By Ruth Eardley