Ben Johnson

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Doctors create $260 IVF procedures for developing countries

Ben Johnson
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July 8, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Scientists in Belgium have discovered a way to put a test-tube baby within the reach of most of the world's population, according to one of the technology's pioneers. 

Elke Klerkx of the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology said doctors have developed a new method of in vitro fertilization for use in developing countries that costs only $260 a treatment (or 200 euros), one-tenth the cost of conventional IVF treatments.

“Infertility care is probably the most neglected health care problem of developing countries, affecting more than two million couples," said Klerkx.

The developers say they have been able to reduce the costs by introducing a simplified method of culturing the embryos to be implanted. They claim that the results they have achieved in tests are nearly equal to those in the much more costly method of IVF in use in more affluent countries. 

"Our initial results are proof of principle that a simplified culture system designed for developing countries can offer affordable and successful opportunities for infertility treatment where IVF is the only solution," said Klerkx. "This is a major step towards universal fertility care."

However, one prominent pro-life priest has responded to the news, pointing out  that Klerkx's claim about the need for IVF conflicts with persistent claims by some of the world's leading figures that the greatest health need in third world countries is more contraception.

Melinda Gates led last year's London Family Planning Summit in dedicating $2.6 billion to satisfying the alleged “unmet demand” of 120 million women for contraception worldwide. 

“If infertility care is the ‘most neglected heath care problem of developing countries’ as Mr. Klerkx suggests, perhaps we should consider ending the decades-long saturation of developing countries with harmful drugs and ‘services’ meant to destroy women's fertility,” Fr. Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com. “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by Western governments and NGOs on dangerous and immoral means to keep women in the developing world from having children, and now a dangerous, unnatural, and immoral means of conception is being embraced to deal with fertility problems.”

Ironically, much of the infertility in the Third World is due to rampant sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including chlamydia and gonorrhea. Recent studies have found some contraceptives, especially the morning-after pill, increase STD rates.

“The primary problem with IVF isn’t the cost,” Fr. Boquet continued, “but the procedure itself, which artificially creates human life and has led to millions of those lives being killed. Further, given the very low cost of this supposed 'solution,' we would do well to remember how women have been harmed and exploited in the past by governments and wealthy corporations who have used the developing world as a laboratory, treating the lives of the poor as expendable.”

Instead, the pro-life activist promoted the use of technology that is unencumbered by any moral objection.

“If wealthy investors are looking for a low cost treatment to truly deal with infertility problems in the developing world, NaPro Technology is far more effective than IVF at achieving pregnancy at a fraction of the cost, and is completely safe, healthy, and moral,” Fr. Boquet told LifeSiteNews, “none of which can be used to describe IVF.”  

NaPro Technology is a natural, fertility-care approach to women’s health, developed by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers of the Creighton University School of Medicine.

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