A new device the size of a 5p coin could be the next step in infertility treatments around the world. Trouble conceiving is a problem in Britain. According to Daily Mail, one in six couples is struggling to have a child, and treatment is often long and arduous.
For people that have struggled to conceive naturally, treatment can feel hopeless and embarrassing. This device, developed by Southampton fertility specialists, could help them conceive without the cost, frustration, and time it takes to undergo IVF. IVF is often expensive, and 32% of the tests come back inconclusive.
This small sensor could allow couples to skip this aspect of fertility treatment so they can begin their lives sooner. By monitoring pH, oxygen levels, and temperature in the mother’s womb, it can help identify problems. Before, fertility doctors had no reliable way to monitor these changes in the female body.
The device is administered like a contraceptive coil, and transmits data to a wireless transmitter worn on the underwear. From there, the information can be sent to a computer or smartphone. After a week of data collection, fertility doctors can learn from the gadget’s findings and proceed with a more accurate, precise treatment plan.
According to Professor Ying Cheong, a specialist in reproductive matters, this is a massive step in the right direction.
“Currently, fertility tests take time and some couples may not receive a diagnosis for their issues straight away,” they explained to the Independent. “We want to get to the stage where we know what a healthy womb environment looks like, and to make measuring levels inside the womb as simple as taking a blood pressure reading.”
From there, the solution might be as simple as probiotics or a dose of aspirin.
“If the pH levels are not in the right range there might be something wrong with the microbiome, the bacteria in the gut. It might be as simple as treating that with probiotics. For oxygen levels or temperature, a vasodilator or aspirin, which increases blood flow, could be effective options.”
While the device isn’t quite ready for use yet, this is good news for those who have struggled to conceive. If things pan out, it could make fertility treatments faster and more effective, saving money and improving the lives of couples across the globe.
“The most exciting part is yet to come. If we can prove that this device works, is comfortable and safe, then it can go on to make big changes in healthcare.”