First pregnancies with a simplified IVF procedure: a crucial step to universal and accessible infertility care
1. Beginning in 2009 and leading up to the clinical trial, the simplified IVF system was developed, tested and validated for human application by Professor Jonathan Van Blerkom from the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA.
2. The low-cost culture system, known as tWE (after the Walking Egg foundation which supports the programme, www.thewalkingegg.com), is based on an incubator system consisting of two glass tubes. The first tube serves as the generator of CO2 from a chemical reaction between citric acid and sodium bicarbonate. This brings into balance the culture medium in the second tube. The connection between the tubes (comprising needles and tubing) can be easily removed once equilibration of the culture medium is achieved. Oocytes and sperm are injected by syringe into the tube with culture medium without disturbing the air environment inside the tube. Fertilisation and embryo development are simply assessed through the glass walls of the tube.