A revolutionary new assisted conception treatment is being offered for the first time by The Oxford Fertility Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
In-vitro maturation - or IVM - is a safer and cheaper new form of treatment which has had a 30 per cent success rate, compared to around 10 per cent with normal IVF. IVM involves the premature removal of young eggs from a woman's ovaries, which are then matured in a laboratory, fertilised and placed into the mother's womb.
The main advantage of the treatment is that the woman does not need to take artificial hormones to force her ovaries to produce eggs. Professor Bob Edwards, who helped create the world's first IVF baby Louise Brown, believes that IVM will eventually replace IVF.
It's the hormone drugs which make IVF expensive and there are suspicions amongst experts that high doses affect egg quality. IVM is an all-round cheaper solution and it heralds a new era!
Mr Tim Child, Consultant Gynaecologist at the Oxford Fertility Clinic, and a Senior Fellow at the University of Oxford, has studied IVM extensively and said, "We're thrilled to be the first UK clinic to offer IVM as it gives the option of a treatment which is easier for the patient during what is often a very stressful time. The cost of drugs, which is often largely met by the patients, is also reduced, meaning IVM has the potential to become a more accessible form of fertility treatment."
Initially only women over 36 years of age with poly-cystic ovaries will be offered IVM but it is hoped the treatment will eventually be offered to all women.
Around 400 babies have now been born worldwide as a result of IVM treatment.