The Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney now offers cheaper and faster IVM

A groundbreaking new fertility treatment has been launched at a major Australian hospital that costs about half the cost and is four times faster than IVF.

The Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney now offers cheaper and faster IVM

The Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney has become only fifth in the world to offer in vitro maturation (IVM), with another change from an Australian university delivering noticeable benefits to patients.

IVM costs about $2000-$4000, as opposed to the $8000 price tag associated with IVF.

Treatment also lasts only three days or less and consists of only two hormone injections because the eggs are lab-aged compared to the grueling two weeks of needles associated with IVF.

Camera IconA new fertility treatment is faster and cheaper than IVF. iStock Credit: Included

The head of the hospital’s obstetrics department, Professor Bill Ledger, explained that despite the hassles associated with IVF, IVM hadn’t caught on in the past due to low pregnancy rates.

“IVM has been around for years, but it has never been very successful because it is difficult to replicate what the ovary does in a lab,” he said.

“The problem was that when you take an egg out of the human body, it matures very quickly, even if it may not be ready for that yet.”

But that all changed after Professor Rob Gilchrist and Belgian researchers developed the CAPA-IVF system at the University of NSW.

This improved process means IVM has the same pregnancy rate as IVF, according to a recent study in Vietnam.

“This new method, called CAPA, shuts down the egg’s progress for 24 hours, so the egg grows more slowly, matures more healthily, and is more fertile when you introduce it to the sperm. It gives us a longer time frame to work with the egg,” said Mr. Ledger.

“A woman can walk into the clinic on Monday, have two doses of hormone injections to prime the ovary, and then her eggs can be collected on Thursday.

Camera IconProfessor Bill Ledger contributed to the development of the CAPA-IVM method. John Appleyard Credit: News Corp Australia

“Regular IVF is expensive because of the high drug costs involved. IVM uses about 80 percent fewer hormones and is cheaper, about half the cost.”

While this makes IVM a good alternative to IVF, Mr. Ledger did clarify that it was only for younger women.

“This is not a fertility treatment for everyone. IVM is suitable for younger women, ideally under the age of 38, and they should have a good egg count,” he said.

About 15 percent of women with fertility problems are estimated to be eligible for CAPA-IVM, and two people have already been treated with IVM at the Royal Hospital for Women.

The announcement coincides with the hospital’s Heart for Her campaign, which aims to raise funds to advance in areas such as fertility research.

Lori J. Kile
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