The In vitro fertilization (IVF) will no longer be restricted to the upper clan of the society.

Akin to the concept of ‘no-frills’ airlines that have reduced the cost of air travel dramatically and have made such travel affordable for the hoi-polloi, medical researchers have devised an extremely cheap IVF which the common man can afford.

If the claims of the Belgium doctors are anything to go by, the cost of IVF may be brought down to as low as £170. At present the cost of such treatment runs into thousands of pounds, sometimes as high as £15,000.

For the Developing World
Needless to say, if the new treatment sees the light of the day and is made open to the public, it will usher in a ‘new IVF era’.

The advent of a cheap IVF is likely to throw open the technique to the developing world and is likely to help scores of couples realize their dream of having a child which was otherwise not biologically possible.

The technique will prove to be a boon in some of the poor countries of Africa and Asia where remaining childless is “a disaster from an economic point of view, a psychological point of view.”

The Technique
The expensive drugs and the incubators are given a cold shoulder in the ‘budget IVF’. Instead, a cheap test-tube set and a chemical reaction inspired by Alka-Seltzer hangover tablets are used which reduce the cost of the procedure manifold.

Dr Elke Klerkx of the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology in Belgium led the international research team that has been instrumental in developing this ‘cheap kit’ for the IVF.

Professor Van Blerkom, of the University of Colorado in the US, said of the technique, “The basic requirements of a human embryo are very simple. The embryos don’t know if they are living in an expensive incubator and a lab with purified air or in a little tube. They don’t care. There’s nothing magical.”

The technique has been successfully carried out in the lab wherein a third of the study participants became pregnant. The success rate of the normal, expensive IVF is also close to 30 percent.

The success story of the technique was divulged at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual conference in London Monday.

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