Fertility care in The Developing World
In developing countries fertility care has long been neglected. It was not seen as an essential part of overall health care and this created a gap whereby only the financially privileged could receive the professional care they needed.
Fertility care does not necessarily have to be expensive though. With simple means proper diagnosis can be achieved. Also costs of Artificial Reproductive Techniques (ART) can be reduced without losing quality of care.
IUI is a relatively simple procedure that involves ovary stimulation, monitoring of the cycle and processing of the sperm before insemination. The costs involved depend mainly on the lab techniques used.
Mild Stimulation IVF
Conventional IVF aims to stimulate the ovaries with such amounts of fertility drugs that they produce large numbers of follicles. This can however affect the quality of the eggs developing in these follicles. Aiming to increase stimulation and collect lots of eggs is not always a healthy approach. Apart from lower egg quality, conventional IVF can give significant side effects.
Mild IVF is is gaining popularity in the West. It is carried out within the natural menstrual cycle and with minimal doses of fertility drugs in order to achieve a mild response to stimulation. The focus is on quality of eggs and embryos, not quantity. Mild IVF aims to collect a smaller number of eggs, but of a higher quality. This approach results in a number of advantages and success rates with Mild IVF are excellent.
Simplified Culture System (SCS) The Walking Egg (tWE) Foundation is a charity sprung from the University of Genk, Belgium which has been working with a group of scientists with the aim of reducing cost of IVF while maintaining the quality, therefore access to IVF would increase both in the Western world and in developing countries.
tWE have developed a Simplified Culture System (SCS), an enclosed culture system in a smaller ‘shoe box sized‘ environment. With this system, IVF can be carried out without the need of a full laboratory, thus massively reducing the costs. Studies show that both fertilization and pregnancy rates were the same using the SCS as they were in traditional IVF.
For more information about The walking Egg Foundation
Currently IVF is not available in the Gambia. Those who can afford will have to travel abroad. In the future we hope to introduce Low Cost or Mild Stimulation IVF to the Gambia.