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Fertility treatment costs could be cut

AFP-JIJI

A simplified lab can slash the cost of in vitro fertilization treatment to around €200 ($256), offering hope to millions of infertile couples in the developing world, experts say.

The cost would be just 10 to 15 percent of western-style IVF programs, according to the Belgian team behind the project. Their approach uses a scaled-down version of the typical IVF lab, using a simple two-tube system to replace special carbon dioxide incubators, medical gas and air purification systems in which to culture the embryo in a lab dish. The technique has been tried in Belgium on IVF patients under the age of 36 where there were at least eight eggs available for fertilization, the researchers said.

In rich countries, a top-flight IVF system costs between €1.5 million and €3 million, but a low-cost equivalent would be less than €300,000.