VUB scientists develop fertility treatment that reduces risks and burden

VUB scientists develop fertility treatment that reduces risks and burden
Credit: VUB

A team of scientists from Brussels' VUB university and the University hospital (UZ Brussel) has developed a new fertility treatment that reduces the risks and burden of traditional In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment.

The method was developed by scientists from the VUB's Follicle Biology (FOBI) Research Laboratory in collaboration with Brussels IVF, the centre for reproductive medicine at UZ Brussel, and provides a new method for in vitro maturation of oocytes called CAPA-IVM.

This method allows for a mild approach and less severe fertility treatment for patients with fertility problems. To bring the treatment to the patient, a spin-off company of the VUB and UZ Brussel, called Lavima Fertility, was founded.

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The CAPA-IVM method is an alternative approach to obtaining eggs in women undergoing IVF, in which the egg cells of the woman are retrieved after minimal (or even without) hormone treatment, and then matured in vitro.

The eggs are then fertilised and follow the standard embryo culture and transfer procedures as in standard IVF. The CAPA-IVM technology could become a more patient-friendly alternative to standard IVF as it reduces exposure to hormones and avoids the associated hormonal side effects.

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The first clinical evidence of the efficacy and safety of the CAPA-IVM technology is promising. A total of 96 babies were born with CAPA-IVM as a result of the published randomised study comparing CAPA-IVM with standard IVF.

The neonatal health of the babies born after both IVF methods was similar, according to the press release.

CAPA-IVM can also be applied in the field of oncofertility aimed at preserving eggs in female cancer patients. "The main advantage of CAPA-IVM is that it reduces risks and burden for people who wish to become parents. We also enable new options for cancer patients," said Emeritus Professor Dr. Johan Smitz.


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