Offering Lowcost IVF in Developing Countries

IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies are very high-tech and expensive forms of treatment that are available almost exclusively in developed countries. However, the personal tragedy of childlessness is no different for men and women in developing countries. In fact, in some cultures women who can't have children may risk public humiliation, divorce, abandonment or withdrawal of food and financial support — even if their infertility is due to a sperm problem.

As a result, the Low Cost IVF Foundation has developed a very simplified IVF protocol that's being trialled in some African countries. The idea is that one IVF cycle shouldn't cost more than $300. To keep costs down, the protocol:

1 Relies on cheaper drugs — rather than using expensive drugs to stimulate egg production, women in the trial take a five-day course of clomiphene citrate tablets (refer to Chapter 6), which usually results in two to four eggs being available at egg collection

1 Restricts monitoring to one ultrasound examination

1 Uses very basic embryo culture systems

1 Transfers just one embryo to avoid multiple pregnancies

If this protocol produces reasonable rates of success, in the future IVF could become a feasible option for infertile couples in poorer countries.

You can follow the progress of this initiative on the Low Cost IVF Foundation's website (www.lowcost-ivf.org).

Pregnancy Guide

Pregnancy Guide

A Beginner's Guide to Healthy Pregnancy. If you suspect, or know, that you are pregnant, we ho pe you have already visited your doctor. Presuming that you have confirmed your suspicions and that this is your first child, or that you wish to take better care of yourself d uring pregnancy than you did during your other pregnancies; you have come to the right place.

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