Experts believe that the new treatment will help improve the birth weights of IVF babies as they remain in the laboratory for a shorter time and are less exposed to synthetic culture fluids. he method is also thought to lessen the psychological impact of fertility treatment.
The UK's fertility watchdog has approved the new treatment, which costs £700 each time. The HFEA advisory committee said that while no evidence suggested that the device was ineffective or unsafe, further research was needed to show whether "the process has a greater or lesser efficacy than that of traditional IVF methods".
Professor Nick Macklon, medical director at Complete Fertility Centre Southampton, located at the city's Princess Anne Hospital, helped to develop the device. He said the use of the AneVivo device "signals a real breakthrough in IVF treatment" as it enables women to carry the embryo in the early stages of development. "That is important psychologically as it involves parents-to-be directly with the fertilisation process and early embryo development but, perhaps more importantly, it also could provide many potential health benefits for babies born following fertility treatment. This is a very significant moment in the advancement of fertility treatment in the UK and we are all extremely excited to be able to offer patients the option of a more natural fertilisation process".