What Is INVOcell?

INVOcell is an innovative alternative to traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) that can be a great option for certain fertility patients.

In traditional IVF, mature eggs are extracted from the female patient and placed into a Petri dish filled with a culture media. Sperm from either the male partner or a donor are then added so that the sperm can fertilize the egg. Once fertilized, the resulting zygotes are incubated for three to five days. The entire process takes place in the embryology laboratory.

With INVOcell, the culture and embryonic development process happen not in a laboratory, but inside the female patient’s body. This is made possible through a small plastic device known as an intravaginal culture device (IVC). The IVC device holds the sperm and eggs in its inner chamber and is placed directly into the patient’s vagina. The IVC allows for the body’s natural temperature and pH balance to create an ideal environment for the developing embryos.

The device consists of two components: the culture device and a retention device, both of which are made of non-toxic materials that are safe for both you and the embryos. The culture device is made of medical-grade polystyrene and non-latex synthetic rubber, while the retention device is comprised of medical-grade polystyrene and silicone. It measures approximately 1 inch in width and 1.5 inches in length.

How INVOcell Works

In some ways, the INVOcell process is similar to traditional IVF. Just like with traditional IVF, patients must undergo ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. However, once the eggs and sperm are combined in the device’s culture chamber, the culture device is placed inside a retention device. The retention device is then placed inside the vagina so that fertilization and incubation can start. The device is small and should not cause any discomfort while inserted inside of the vagina.

During this time, it is important to maintain the vagina’s natural environment. This means avoiding any activity that could potentially impact the vagina’s natural temperature, such as taking a hot bath or swimming. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on which activities will be off-limits while using INVOcell.

Once the incubation period is complete, the IVC device is removed from the vagina so that any resulting embryos can be examined for quality. Once quality embryos have been identified, your doctor will help you determine how many will be transferred into your uterus. You can also choose to freeze them for future use.

When Is INVOcell Recommended?

INVOcell is an attractive option for many patients, as it offers them the opportunity to be more intimately involved in the fertilization and incubation aspects of IVF. However, INVOcell is not an ideal option in every case.

INVOcell is most likely to be successful for patients who are age 35 and younger, have a healthy BMI, have good AMH levels, and are using high-quality sperm. INVOcell is most often used by:

  • Individuals and couples who are interested in a lower-cost alternative to IVF
  • Single women who are interested in becoming mothers without a partner
  • Same-sex female couples

At Reproductive Specialists of the Carolinas, our fertility specialists will take a holistic look at your unique case to help you determine if INVOcell is the best course of treatment for your family-building journey.

Fertility Clinic Care, Right Near You

If you’re looking for advanced treatments with personalized care, then you’re in the right place. Visit our boutique fertility clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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