Scientists May Have Made A Breakthrough In Fertility Treatment With IVM

Scientists May Have Made A Breakthrough In Fertility Treatment With IVM

In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been helping infertile couples get pregnant since 1977. But IVF's cousin, in vitro maturation (IVM), has always been second choice, and perhaps for good reason. Historically, the success rate of IVM has been significantly lower than IVF.

To understand the differences between IVF and IVM, you first need to understand how they work. When a woman undergoes IVF, she takes follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) which stimulate egg growth prior to those eggs being removed from the ovary. With IVM, the egg is retrieved while it is still immature and is stimulated with minimal hormones in a lab until it reaches full maturity. Thus far, the success rate of IVM has been about 32% as compared with an IVF success rate of 40%. But according to a study published in 2016, UNSW Australia Associate Professor Robert Gilchrist, along with an international research team, has enhanced the IVM process and improved its success rate. He added cumulin (a growth factor) and cAMP-modulators (small signaling molecules) to the egg cells to allow them to be retrieved even earlier. These additions increased the success rate of the process by 50%, bringing it in-line with the success rate of IVF. IVM also offers significant cost savings. While an average cycle of traditional IVF is $15,000 to $20,000, an average IVM cycle costs around $5,000 to $7,000, making it more affordable for couples.

Further testing needs to be done before scientists can implement clinical trials of this new enhanced version of IVM, but they believe this could be another viable option for infertile couples in the near future.

Enhanced IVM: An Alternative To IVF

Experts say this new method of IVM is equally as successful as IVF, and less invasive for the mother. UNSW Australia Associate Professor Robert Gilchrist led an international research team to discover this enhanced method.

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