Experts at a Manhattan fertility clinic claim they’re pioneering the world’s first do-it-yourself IVF kit. The idea is that wannabe moms can use the at-home kit to prepare to have their eggs retrieved in a doctor’s office.
The kit, which costs $850, requires only one visit to the doctor before egg harvesting. And while it could be a convenient way to handle a rather inconvenient process, doctors say patients really shouldn’t skimp on medical supervision in the midst of fertility woes.
The color-coded package costs roughly the same price as coming into the office, according to New Hope Fertility Center, which is behind the initiative. But, the company adds, there would likely be savings on commuting costs, travel time and hours lost at the woman’s place of work.
The kit contains oral and vaginal medications, nasal sprays and urine testing strips women can use to monitor their ovulation. The Food and Drug Administration only oversees IVF when it involves a third party, such as a sperm or egg donor, so this kit doesn’t come under their purview.
After a period of about 14 days, the egg retrieval is done by professionals at the clinic — but all of the preparation is done by the patients themselves.
They can either pick up the kit from the fertility center’s Midtown office or have it delivered by mail.
The new system could just be “the Uber of the IVF world,” Dr. Zaher Merhi, New Hope’s director of research and development in IVF technologies, tells The Post.
“[With the kit,] there is no need to go to the the physician’s office for monitoring, for blood work or for ultrasounds. There is also the element of privacy. Who wants to have to tell their employer they need to go to the doctor every other morning for two weeks?” says Merhi.
He says that the chances of the woman’s body being in a successful state for egg harvesting for either IVF or egg-freezing after using the at-home IVF kit were around 95 percent based on testing it out on about 25 patients.
“Of course, the patient needs to be hyper-vigilant and very motivated to adhere to the correct protocols,” he says. “But if there is human error, we will reimburse them and encourage them to have the retrieval done at the clinic the next time around.”
But some doctors think it’s a bad idea for patients to prep entirely alone.
“Women actually do want to know what is going on with their bodies during an IVF cycle,” Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh tells The Post.
That’s why the San Ramon, Calif., doctor thinks it’s important to connect with a doctor prior to having your eggs harvested — that, plus her belief that it’s unrealistic and unsafe for patients to handle IVF prep by themselves.
Doctors, she points out, are key for helping patients manage medication and their possible side effects, which can include mood changes and physical discomfort. Without someone to monitor symptoms and dosage, she says, “so many horrible things can happen.
“Offering zero [as suggested in their promotional materials] or even suggesting zero visits to a doctor before an egg retrieval is silly. Minimal visits? Sure. That’s totally doable. You could do an entire IVF cycle with two visits and an egg retrieval and still keep a patient safe,” says Eyvazzadeh. “But the word ‘zero’? Give me a break.”