Leading article: Fertility made simpler

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The Independent Online

Of the many tribulations that face women seeking fertility treatment, the postcode lottery determining who qualifies for how many attempts and at what price is probably the most detested. Close behind, though, must be the hormone treatment that has been a standard part of IVF treatment for so long, with all the discomfort and imbalances it can cause. Now, in what could be one of the most hopeful advances for years, comes in-vitro maturation (IVM).

This method, which has been shown in trials to be as effective for younger women as conventional IVF, dispenses with the need for hormone drugs. So far, about 900 babies have been born worldwide, and the technique is now being used in Britain. With an overall success rate close to that of IVF, and improving, this could be a rare instance of a medical advance that makes things simpler, saves money, and improves the patient's experience all at once. If only this could be the future of more medical research.