One of the subjects discussed at the ESHRE fertility conference in London this week was low cost IVF with much made in the papers this morning of the fact that this “no frills” IVF could cost as little as £200, £180 or £170 (depending on which newspaper you happened to be reading). According to the research team, this simplified version of IVF was still capable of producing excellent success rates and could be used to offer IVF in developing countries where people could not afford the thousands of pounds for conventional treatment – and eventually in the rest of the world too.
This was hailed as an amazing new development, but in fact, low cost IVF is not a new idea. There’s an organisation called The Low Cost IVF Foundation which was set up in 2007 and has been campaigning on this issue for some years. Headlines from as far back as 2008 were highlighting the possibility of an IVF cycle for less than 200 dollars, but one of the problems with any fertility treatment is that those involved nowadays expect to make healthy profits – or at least take very healthy salaries.
It is five years since we first heard that IVF could be carried out for less than 200 dollars, but we have yet to see this taking off across the world. It will be interesting to see where we are in another five years and how things progress with the advances discussed at ESHRE this week.