Doctors in the U.K. have discovered an incubation process that can cut the cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to as low as $220. This is huge, since the current cost of IVF is usually around $12,000 in the states, as opposed to €5000 ($6500) in the U.K.
The main cost of IVF comes from the incubation and growth of the embryos before implantation. Embryos need high levels of carbon dioxide to prevent them from becoming acidic.
Clinics use compressed gas, air scrubbers and incubators that produce the right balance of CO2 for healthy embryo growth. This equipment is expensive and drives up the cost for clients of IVF. Researchers found that with the appropriate monitoring they could use citric acid and bicarbonate of soda to produce similar levels of CO2. So, basically, they used orange juice and baking soda to grow embryos! These materials are dirt cheap to produce in large amounts, the polar opposite of the current methods for IVF.
They simply mix these compounds in appropriate amounts to produce the CO2 they need in an “Alka-Selzer like technique” according to the lead researcher ,Professor Willem Ombelet. So far 12 healthy babies have been born using this new method of embryo growth. The cost makes it available to many more people. Even in countries where it hasn’t really been an option in the past. Even with a 30% success rate, the procedure isn’t for everyone.
Certain medical conditions in either parent might exclude certain embryos. All in all this new process could potentially change the face of our population.
But is it for the better?
It seems a miracle to be able to offer couples of modest financial means the ability to have a child they might otherwise be denied. I imagine that there are many more families that need IVF, than ones who can afford it. With the advent of this new method the amount of IVFs performed will probably grow exponentially every year. If you are a believer of the overpopulation theories that abound these days, then you can see the potential problem. There is quite a bit of legitimate scientific research that shows the effect an ever growing human population will have on our planet in only a few years.
Click over to World Overpopulation Awareness to see some alarming statistics. We are already facing a drinkable water crisis, but you probably don’t feel the effect. If you’re reading this then you are more than likely in a country that is causing the water shortage in other, less fortunate, places. Food will also become an issue. There is no magic food generating warehouse hidden in the spaces of our great country, the Earth can only produce so much. And when the demand far outpaces the supply….. Well you get the picture.
I personally know people whom I hope may finally be able to have access to a medical procedure, that up until now was reserved for the upper and middle class. This new embryo growth method seems so elementary I wonder how its taken this long to discover a cheaper alternative. Modern medicine is producing pioneering discoveries on a regular basis, but at what cost? Will this trigger a dramatic increase in the world population that puts us over the tipping point? If so, soon it will be survival of the richest……oh wait, fittest, my mistake. I think we’ll find out soon enough.
Written By: Andrew Johnson