VUB spin-off Lavima Fertility develops novel fertility treatment that reduces risks and burden

Couples unable to get pregnant naturally often resort to In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) to fulfil their desire to have children. To obtain mature eggs for IVF, women typically undergo ovarian stimulation with hormones which can be very burdensome. A team of scientists of the Follicle Biology (FOBI) Research Laboratory at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in collaboration with the UZ Brussel fertility clinic has succeeded in developing a novel method for In Vitro Maturation (IVM) of oocytes, called CAPA-IVM. This is a method allowing a mild and low-burden fertility treatment for subfertile patients. To bring the technique to the patient, Lavima Fertility, a spin-off company of the VUB and UZ Brussel, was created.

The CAPA-IVM method is an alternative approach to obtaining eggs in women undergoing IVF, in which the egg cells of the woman are retrieved after minimal or even absent hormone treatment and then matured in vitro. The eggs are then fertilized and follow the standard embryo culture and transfer procedures as in standard IVF. The CAPA-IVM technology could become a more patient-friendly alternative to standard IVF as it reduces the exposure to hormones and avoids the associated hormonal side effects.

Initial clinical evidence of the efficacy and safety of the CAPA-IVM technology is very promising. A total of 96 babies were born by CAPA-IVM as a result of the published randomized study comparing CAPA-IVM to standard IVF1. The neonatal health of the babies born from either IVF approach was similar.1

CAPA-IVM can also be applied in the field of oncofertility which aims at preserving oocytes in female cancer patients.

"The main advantage of CAPA-IVM is that it reduces risks and burden for people who wish to become parents. We also enable new options for cancer patients." Em. Johan Smitz, VUB

"We are proud that research from UZ Brussel can now be further harnessed to help even more patients through the creation of Lavima Fertility. This opens up perspectives for many cancer patients and women with PCOS." Marc Noppen, CEO UZ Brussel