Saturday, December 30, 2006

IVM safer and cheaper alternative to IVF

The procedure of in vitro maturation (IVM) continues to receive support form fertility doctors because it does not require the woman to receive large doses of follicle stimulating hormone with its potential for serious health risks and its high cost.

The IVM process involves extracting up to ten immature eggs early in the mentrual cycle. A tiny amount of stimulating hormone is added to the culture containing the eggs which are then matured for 24 to 48 hours. They are then fertilized with the man's sperm and the resulting embryos are allowed to develop for several days before implanting them in the woman's uterus.

According to a story in the Times Online, 400 babies have already been born to women using this technique. The story gives no details, however, so we don't know when or where those 400 babies were born. A 30 percent success rate is cited, comparable to standard IVF according to the story. That's a little high to quote as the "standard" success rate. Perhaps they are limiting their statistics to the optimal candidate group. Also, it appears too early to tell if there is a higher incidence of genetic disorders or other problems with the babies born through this technique.

Overall, however, a very promising procedure that is much safer and less expensive for women considering IVF as well women donating eggs.



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