Should you consider INVOCELL as part of your IVF cycle?
You may have heard of INVOCELL, a medical device that allows IVF embryos to grow and divide in a woman’s body, rather than in the laboratory. This idea of intravaginal embryo culture may sound wonderful and even more natural. However, is it right for you? Our Las Vegas fertility center team explains what you need to know about this option.
A look at this intravaginal embryo culture system
Doctors and researchers had been attempting to develop this system for decades. For years, they struggled to mimic the careful acid/base balance, air concentrations and sterile conditions necessary for embryonic development.
In 2015, INVOCELL, a plastic device that sits in a woman’s vagina for one week, received FDA clearance to hold and combine up to seven eggs with sperm. The goal is to eliminate the need for IVF laboratory procedures and monitoring by bringing fertilization and embryo growth back to the woman’s body.
The advantages and disadvantages
When patients visit our Las Vegas fertility center with an interest in this device, our doctors carefully explain the advantages and disadvantages of an intravaginal embryo culture system.
- Advantages – This system can help women in regions and countries where IVF laboratories are not readily accessible. It can also be an option for women and couples who have religious or cultural reasons for wanting the eggs and sperm to remain in the body for IVF.
- Disadvantages – Researchers have not conducted studies about how INVOCELL works with women and couples facing common conditions like severe endometriosis, diminished ovarian reserve and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The plastic device can be uncomfortable in the woman’s body, is not suitable for couples facing male infertility, and has not been approved for patients with more than seven eggs or who are planning a Day 5 embryo transfer. Day 3 transfers are not routinely performed by most clinics. In fact, FCLV abandoned Day 3 transfers more than 20 years ago.
Additionally, this system makes it impossible to gain information about poor fertilization or delays in embryo growth. While it’s easy to track this vital data in the laboratory, it’s not an option when using an intravaginal embryo culture system. This could be part of the reason why pregnancy rates are higher with traditional laboratory-based systems.
Final thoughts on INVOCELL
The Fertility Center of Las Vegas (FCLV) is an Oasis of Hope for patients who are struggling to conceive. Our team uses evidence-based medicine and personalized care to give women and men the best chance of welcoming a baby. If you’re interested in INVOCELL, give us a call to schedule a consultation with one of our board certified fertility specialists. During the appointment, we’ll review your medical history and determine the treatment option that will give you the best chance of growing your family.
Contact our Las Vegas fertility center to learn what fertility treatments are best for you. We look forward to helping you achieve your dream of parenthood.