The INVOcell™ system is an exciting new fertility treatment option that could reduce costs for couples trying to conceive. At The Fertility Institute of New Orleans, our own Dr. Dunaway and his team recently performed the first successfully completed INVOcell™ Procedure in Louisiana. If you're trying to conceive, read on to see how INVOcell could help you.

What is the INVOcell procedure?

Conventional fertility treatments, like IVF, rely on laboratory incubators and equipment to support early embryo development. While these systems are expertly-designed, they do come with additional costs in order to maintain an optimal temperature, pH levels, and gas concentrations for the developing embryo.

INVOcell uses an environment that's already perfectly designed to do this: your own body.

Rather than incubation that takes place in a laboratory, the INVOcell device is part of an intravaginal culture system (or IVC). Fertilization occurs in the more natural environment of your own upper vaginal cavity, where temperature, pH levels, and gas are more constant and directly-matched to the needs of your embryo.

After three days, the INVOcell device is withdrawn and the best embryos are transferred to your uterus. The following diagram shows how the INVOcell system works.

What are the major INVOcell benefits?

The INVOcell procedure provides multiple benefits for couples who are trying to conceive, including:

  • Is less expensive than IVF therapies (approximately half the cost)
  • Has comparable efficacy and birth rates to intrauterine insemination (IUI) therapies
  • Allows couples to attempt fertility treatment who may have been priced out of more expensive therapies
  • Provides a natural incubation environment, which may have psychological, emotional, or mental benefits for parent and child

While INVOcell won't work for all patients, it does provide an affordable fertility option for many.

What are INVOcell success rates?

In a 2016 study in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, researchers found no significant difference between traditional IVF and INVOcell (IVC) transfer (97.5% vs. 84.9%) and live birth rates (60% vs. 55%).

Researchers noted that:

"IVF was shown to be superior to IVC in creating quality blastocysts. However, both IVF and IVC produced identical blastocysts for transfer resulting in similar live birth rates. IVC using INVOcell™ is effective and may broaden access to fertility care in selected patient populations.”

Dr. Dunaway notes that "it's a great option" that may replace typical insemination procedures for many fertility patients. He also recommends that the procedure should be performed at an IVF center.

How much does INVOcell cost?

We recently wrote about the costs associated with fertility treatments here. As we noted, there are many costs involved and health insurance plans generally don't cover Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures.

If your doctor thinks INVOcell may work for you, it could make it much easier to afford fertility therapy. Because of the reduced equipment and lab costs, INVOcell is approximately half the cost of traditional IVF. What that final number depends on your location and any other therapies you need as well.

Should I consider INVOcell as my treatment?

For best results with INVOcell, Dr. Dunaway recommends that patients:

  • Are under 35 years of age
  • Have normal semen parameters, with no sperm issues
  • Have a BMI of less than 32
  • Are categorized at an AMH blood level of 1 or greater

If you have additional questions about INVOcell, talk to your fertility specialist. They can help you understand how this therapy could help you achieve your dream of having a baby. Further, INVOcell Bioscience (the makers of INVOcell), have an extensive list of FAQs on their site. These can help you learn more about this fertility system.

If you're in the Gulf South, we encourage you to reach out to us at The Fertility Institute of New Orleans. Dr. Dunaway performed the first successful INVOcell procedure in the state and can answer any questions you have. Contact us today!