IVF treatment has long been associated with painful, dreaded injections and blood draws. Now, New York City’s New Hope Fertility Center is advertising a new method–one without any pricking whatsoever.
This week, the fertility center revealed the Needle-Free IVF method. In lieu of needles, the method depends on hormone tests via urine and saliva samples, in conjunction with oral and nasal medications to stimulate a woman’s ovaries into producing multiple egg follicles.
Dr. Zaher Merhi, the director of research and development in IVF technologies at New Hope, says he hopes the solution will ease women’s discomfort. He’s encountered several patients who postponed treatment due to fear of needles. Many others, he says, hire a nurse to administer shots at home.
“It causes a lot of inconvenience,” says Merhi, “that’s an extra cost.”
While the needle-free method eliminates literal pain points, there are some minor annoyances. The saliva test, for example, requires patients to refrain from eating or brushing their teeth for two hours. And while Merhi says the FDA-approved oral and nasal medications are as effective as shots, patients do produce fewer eggs than with the traditional method.
“It’s not going to really affect your chances to get pregnant,” claims Merhi. “To us, the quality of the egg is way much better than the quantity.”
So why hasn’t needle-less IVF existed before? Merhi says it’s a matter of medical tradition. Doctors were trained a certain way, and there just wasn’t enough research dedicated to changing the format. “It’s been routine,” he says. In the near future, New Hope intends to share best practices with centers nationwide.
So far, Merhi says clients are eager to try to painless method, especially those who have harbored a longtime fear of needles. “They are very, very excited,” he says. “They’re very happy that there are no shots.”