INVO is an assisted reproductive treatment which came to light in recent years as an alternative to conventional in vitro fertilisation.
Shortly after being introduced onto the market, it caught the public eye and most of the media attention was focused on this peculiar device, since it was significantly more cost-effective and had similar results to IVF.
The INVO process
With the INVO technique, egg fertilisation by sperm occurs inside the woman’s body; therefore, it is not in vitro but similar to natural fertilisation.
Ovarian stimulation is performed moderately so that no more than 10 oocytes are produced. Then, these oocytes are removed following the same protocol as in conventional in vitro fertilisation.
The sperm is processed equally: sperm capacitation is performed in order to obtain only sperm with good motility.
The sperm and the eggs, together with culture medium, are added into the INVOcell device. Then, the protective shell is incorporated and it is inserted into the woman’s uterus, where it will remain for three days.
After this period, the device is removed, the embryos are evaluated under microscope and the healthiest-looking ones are transferred to the patient.
Advantages and disadvantages of INVOcell
With this method, embryo incubation at the laboratory is not required; therefore, less incubators and expensive lab equipments are necessary, which makes this fertility treatment more cost-effective if compared to other treatments.
Its cost-effectiveness is the main reason why this method was produced, although product designers include other advantages such as:
- More natural incubation
- The risk for complications at the laboratory is reduced
- The couple undergoing the treatment is more involved
- Similar efficacy as IVF treatments
The main disadvantage of this method is that the device must remain three days inside the woman’s body, which may cause some discomfort. In addition, she has to visit the assisted reproduction clinic more often.
No additional benefits have been observed in relation with this technique. This is the reason why it was not implemented in routine clinical practice. Although it is still offered in some clinics, INVO was not as groundbreaking as expected.