IUI 'Evie' Sperm Pump
A new way of doing an intrauterine insemination (IUI) is with a slow release pump. This device produced by Reproductive Sciences Limited, a UK company, enables sperm to be released into the cervix at a much slower rate than traditional methods.
What Is It?
The 'Evie' designed by Fertiligent, an Israeli start up company, is a simple and low cost device consisting of a catheter that goes into the womb, a pump with a timer, an insemination syringe and a strap that attaches the device to the woman's thigh. The pump slowly releases sperm into the womb, allowing the woman to continue her normal life, just as she would if she was trying to get pregnant in the normal way. The woman being treated can easily remove the device and dispose of it herself after a few hours.
How Does It Work?
The pump enables sperm to be released slowly into the womb over a three to four hour period. By mimicking the natural process, this slow release system enables the 'window of opportunity' to be longer, giving more sperm more time to reach the egg. It also prevents the loss of sperm that can happen in conventional IUI treatment.
With most traditional IUI treatments, all the sperm are released into the womb at once, flooding the egg with too many sperm. When this happens, the egg is overwhelmed and often becomes unable to accept any sperm at all and so the fertilization attempt fails. With this system, the egg is more receptive to being fertilized by the sperm and the success rate is similar to the more invasive IVF treatment.
How Successful Is It?
Trials conducted in England, Germany and Israel show that with an up to 30% success rate the 'Evie' compares favourably with IVF treatment. The device also has at least double the success rate of conventional IUI techniques. As many couples are offered IUI first, before the more expensive and invasive IVF treatment, if doctors use the 'Evie' pump as part of the IUI treatment they can increase the conception rates of their patients.
Is It Approved?
This patented device presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Conference in Rome in July 2010 created a lot of interest with the conference attendees. As the 'Evie' has received both European (CE) and American FDA approval, the company will be increasing production and hopes that the device will be widely available in 2011.
Ask your specialist if the device is available in your NHS Trust and if it is suitable for your particular situation.