Infertility affects approximately 18,356 individuals daily. Currently, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is used as a standard for infertility treatment. The success rate of IVF depends on a number of factors, including reproductive history, maternal age, the cause of infertility and lifestyle factors. IVF is also expensive, ranging in cost from $12,000 to $17,000 for a single treatment. There are also many side effects that may occur due to the hormone treatments required with IVF.
What’s the solution?
In Australia, there has been a breakthrough in fertility research. This new treatment could lower the cost and be less invasive than the current IVF treatment.
This new breakthrough builds on in-vitro maturation (IVM). The plus side is that it requires fewer hormone drugs because this process removes the egg from the ovary before it matures and grows in a cell culture. Since there are fewer drugs being used, it reduces the cost and risk associated with standard IVF treatments. With the breakthrough in treatment, there was an overall improvement to the quality of the eggs, and when compared to the standard IVM process, a 50 percent increase in the number of viable embryos.
How does it work?
Researchers have created a new protein that is able to mimic the egg’s own unique protein that then communicates with the cells that are supporting the egg during the maturation process. Subsequently, this increases the quality of the embryo being produced. IVM is not currently available, but it is in the preclinical trial phase. Depending on the results and approval, IVM could become the standard for infertility treatment in the next three to five years.
As technology and research advance, infertility will hopefully become an easier and less expensive process for couples trying to conceive. The journey to becoming a mother can be long and exhausting, but for many, it’s worth it. This Mother’s Day, raise awareness on the hardships women face while trying to become a mother. To learn more, visit TheSourceOfMe on Facebook.
Danielle Pillans, Director of Public Relations, American Pregnancy Association, [email protected]