TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The first baby in the state conceived with help from a new fertility treatment was born at DCH Northport in late September.
Peter Anthony White, the son of Michelle and Chase White, is not only a blessing to his parents but a sign of hope for millions of couples struggling to get pregnant.
The Whites tried for two years before meeting Dr. Beth Malizia of Alabama Fertility Specialists in Homewood. There they were given the chance to use INVOcell, a device that is about half the cost of traditional IVF and can be twice as effective as a natural pregnancy rate.
"It's a new procedure that allows a little middle of the road option," said Dr. Beth Malizia, the first reproductive endocrinologist in Alabama to be trained in using the INVOcell device. The practice also employs an embryologist trained in the technique. "This is a lovely option that gives patients even more flexibility in terms of choices for care and choices for treatment."
Approved by the FDA in 2015, INVOcell places eggs retrieved from the mother into a small plastic device with sperm. The device is then inserted into the mother’s vagina. Rather than growing an embryo in an expensive lab, the mother then acts as the incubator for life to come together. After several days, the device is removed and if an egg was fertilized, it is then placed back into the mother's uterus. The method is a gentler approach to fertility treatment than a more aggressive IVF that requires more medications, doctor visits, and expenses.
The less-expensive option opens the door to fertility treatment for new patients who have not been able to afford the $8,000- $10,000 cost of a single round of IVF. It is also an option for female same-sex couples who would like to share the experience of being pregnant with one woman incubating the embryo and the other ultimately carrying the child. Women with a history of ectopic pregnancy or who have had their tubes tied could also be candidates for INVOcell.
"It's used in other parts of the world but it's a really interesting option for places without a lot of access to fertility care because it can be done without a full IVF lab," said Dr. Malizia, who traveled to Texas twice for special training before offering the treatment at her practice.
Peter and mom Michelle are both happy and healthy after his September 27th arrival! Peter was 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and 19 inches long.
For more information on INVOcell or to find a clinic that offers it near you, click here.
For more information on Alabama Fertility Specialists, click here.