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InterTrust Fertility heralds the end for expensive IVF treatment in Britain
PRWebPRWeb – Fri, Jun 1, 2012
InterTrust Fertility is offering British patients access to a unique IVF trial in Spain that could change the way IVF treatment is delivered across the UK. The new fertility technique, called ‘24sure’ and developed by BlueGnome in Cambridge has shown incredibly positive results in a number of medical trails, demonstrating up to a seventy-five percent success rate for IVF patients, which by scientific standards is a huge jump. InterTrust Fertility has partnered with the world’s second largest fertility organisation IVI, based in Barcelona, to offer UK couples the chance to participate in the latest clinical trial of this technique. Should the technology prove to be successful, the dramatic increase in success rates will severely reduce the total cost of treating patients, paving the way for cheaper and more reliable IVF treatment, thereby making it much easier for UK women and couples to access fertility help in Britain.
Mayfair, London (PRWEB UK) 1 June 2012
The trial is available to women seeking IVF treatment, aged between thirty-eight and forty, the age group that most challenges fertility doctors. By screening the embryos of 120 women for abnormal chromosomes (the basic building blocks of human life), the trail hopes to establish just how effective this technique can be. Access to the Barcelona trial is ‘randomised’, meaning participation cannot be guaranteed. InterTrust Fertility (http://www.intertrustmedical.com) co-ordinates the treatment of UK women and couples seeking IVF treatment abroad, working with partner IVF clinics in Barcelona and Prague to provide consistent care and management to international patients. The total cost of IVF treatment in Spain starts at £4,800, which is around the minimum a couple could expect to pay privately in the UK.
As well as removing some of the uncertainty and stress that women feel as they under go IVF, as research has demonstrated that infertility can be as stressful to a woman as a serious disease like heart disease or even cancer, the likely success of this new technology will eventually have a big impact on the people behind the scenes, the Embryologists. Even using the current best practice reproductive techniques, Embryologists know that 50% of the embryos that are transferred back into a woman will have chromosomal problems and will probably not survive. The problem is of course they don’t know which half. By conducting a screening programme that takes less than twelve hours, they could for the first time have a definitive benchmark, guiding them to select embryos with the best chances of survival.
In the UK, IVF treatment has been heavily overshadowed in recent months. First by continued attacks from Professor Robert Winston, the UK’s ‘IVF Tsar’ against private IVF clinics, claiming that many are exploiting couples desperate to have children with excessively high fees. Then by a US research study that shows how ‘ICSI’; a procedure which is often pushed by private clinics and is currently used in almost half of all IVF cycles, actually doubles a baby’s chances of suffering birth defects. Finally, last week the government NHS watchdog NICE is calling for a raise in the upper age limited for the availability of a single IVF cycle on the NHS to forty-two under some circumstances. These new demands are set against the UK’s ‘IVF lottery’, where less than two thirds of NHS trusts actually follow the national guidelines.
With the picture of fertility treatment in Britain today as one of expensive private treatment, hard-to-come-by NHS treatment and long waiting periods for donor eggs, often over twelve months. InterTrust Fertility’s participation in the Barcelona ‘24sure’ trial as well as several others could eventually help to reinvent fertility treatment in Britain by fundamentally altering the economics behind IVF.
On average, women require between 2 to 4 IVF cycles before they become pregnant. If the early clinical trial results are correct then adopting this new chromosomal test could potentially reduce the average number of cycles that a woman needs by half, in effect cutting the total cost of IVF treatment by 50%. An advance that any cash strapped NHS trust would rush to embrace.
InterTrust Fertility’s Managing Director James Walsh comments, “Exactly how this might play out in terms of availability of IVF treatment on the NHS or in terms of cheaper private treatment is still uncertain. This is quite a new technology and although it is possible for our patients to access the trial in Spain, the reality is it could be five years before these tests become standard practice across the NHS.”
He adds, “Also, some private clinics may shy away from using the new technique in a widespread manner because they may not want to provide patients with only one or two IVF cycles, which would significantly reduce their revenue when compared with today’s standards. We suspect it will firstly be introduced as a ‘premium’ service to patients. In fact, InterTrust Fertility has itself grown out of the needs of thousands of couples, who simply can’t afford private IVF treatment in the UK and who are seeking affordable fertility treatment at reputable, well managed clinics. In all honestly we can’t see this changing any time soon, although when it does we do expect it to be a very significant shift.”
The trial with InterTrust Fertility’s partner, IVI in Spain will take around a year to complete before any firm results are published.
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