New IVF method gives embryos natural environment

IVF trial will see embryos implanted in womb almost immediately

A new IVF method that permits embryos to grow in the womb almost immediately after conception will be available to British couples.

Forty women will be recruited by the Care fertility unit in Nottingham to trial the new technique, intended to change fertility treatment so embryos can develop in a natural environment.

Under current IVF treatment, a woman’s eggs and partner’s sperm are fertilised in the laboratory and the embryos that form are incubated in a Petri dish for three days before being implanted in the womb.

Under the new procedure, half the embryos are grown in the current way but the other half will be put in a special container that is placed in the womb. The straw-like container, less than 10mm long, has tiny holes which allow nutrients to get to the embryos, but are too small to prevent the embryos from escaping.

After three days the container is removed and the most promising embryos are replaced in the womb. The belief is the chances of pregnancy are superior as the embryos have been allowed to grow in their natural environment.

Belgium has already trialled the new technique which saw two healthy births.

Simon Fisher, managing director of the Care fertility group said of the new procedure: ‘It could bring women back into the position of nurturing their embryos from the moment of conception, which is a wonderful idea. It is just intuitive that using the womb should be better.’

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