Infertility is defined by the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology (ICMART) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse1. Infertility is recognized as a global public health issue by the WHO and can affect up to 1 in 6 couples. An estimated 50 million couples are infertile worldwide but the overall burden of infertility is likely underestimated, and changed little over the last 20 years2,3.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a series of procedures used to treat infertility. It is the most frequent and effective form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). More than 8 million babies were born from IVF since the world's first in 1978. Over 470,000 IVF cycles were recorded in Europe in 20134. The European IVF pregnancy rate is stable at around 36%, according to ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology)5.
IVF is an ART procedure that involves extracorporeal fertilization. During an IVF cycle, mature oocytes are retrieved from the patient’s ovaries, fertilized by sperm in a laboratory (conventional insemination or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)) and the fertilized oocyte is implanted into the patient’s uterus. The techniques that are routinely used in an IVF cycle include controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH), i.e. continued stimulation of the ovaries, typically for 10 days, with injections of hormones (gonadotropins) for the development of multiple follicles, ultrasound-guided transvaginal oocyte retrieval directly from the ovaries, co-incubation of oocytes and sperm overnight, embryo culture for 1 to 2 days, and selection of embryos before embryo transfer into an uterus6.
Female hormones blood testing is one of the most important tools for the physician to diagnose infertility, assess ovulation and ovarian reserve, and monitor IVF. For controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, for example close monitoring with frequent checks of the estradiol blood level is necessary.
OVVI Diagnostics is developing a point-of-care solution for hormone blood testing with lab-quality results obtained within few minutes directly from a fingerprick.
- Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 92, No. 5, 2009
- PLOS Medicine, Vol. 9, No.12, e1001356, 2012
- Human Reproduction, Vol.31, No.9 pp. 2108–2118, 2016
- Human Reproduction, Vol.32, No.10 pp. 1957–1973, 2017
- SLAS Technology, Vol. 24(4) 373–385, 2019