You could fall pregnant while… shopping? Sitting at your desk at work. Walking around the block. Picking up some Vietnamese takeaway.
Everyday tasks are now all potential baby-conception opportunities.
This new insemination device is set to hit the medical world next year and is designed to help women who are struggling with fertility; or same sex couples who want to start a family; or donor pregnancies; or people with conditions like endometriosis where sex is painful and fertility is affected.
“Evie” developed by scientists in Warrington, Cheshire in the UK, injects sperm slowly, over a period of four hours, into the uterus.
The device slow-releases “washed sperm” – or the strong swimmers in a mix of protein supplements – with an insemination syringe through a catheter and into the uterus. It’s attached like a holster to the upper thigh.
Evie offers an alternative to standard intrauterine insemination (IUI), where sperm is injected directly into the womb. The slow release method more closely resembles natural conception, in which sperm is filtered slowly through the cervix.
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“This device gives women more freedom. The catheter is initially inserted by a health professional and then [the patient is] free to leave the clinic, go to work, go home,” David Dally of Reproductive Services, which is developing the product, told The Times. “Four hours later they can remove the device themselves. It is a low-cost treatment that requires very little technology.”
Insemination is often the first port of call for women struggling to fall pregnant. It is cheaper (around $2,000 with a medicare rebate of up to $670), and less invasive, than in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
In Australia, IVF costs around $5,000 per cycle, and the chances of success range from 40 per cent for women under 30 to less than 10 per cent for women over 40.
Until now, insemination procedures – like IUI – have offered a much lower chance of success than IVF.
Evie changes this.
Where IUI is commonly associated with an 8.5 per cent success rate, interim results from a clinical trial shows Evie affords a 17.5 per cent chance of pregnancy. As well as this, early results of a three-year trial involving 250 women (the trial is meant to finish next year) shows that, in some cases, Evie is as successful as IVF, with pregnancy rates of 35 per cent.
Dally predicts Evie will hit the market sometime next year, and that the price should be similar to the price of IUIs.