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Technology set to ease IVF experience

Life Sciences

  • Date 12 Nov 2012
  • Sectors Life Sciences

Progesterone supplements are a vital part of fertility treatment as the hormone helps sustain the pregnancy to full term. The supplements usually take the form of pills or suppositories. But in some cases women need higher doses of the hormone – which involves regular self-administered injections. The intimidating and complex nature of the injections, however, means some patients are unable to administer the PiO properly or delay or miss injections, which can lower the success rate of the fertility treatment.

The PiO injections involve warming the oil to make it less viscous and then using a syringe fitted with a 22-gauge (1.5-inch) needle to inject the progesterone deep into the muscle. Patients often find it difficult to find the right angle, speed and temperature to ensure correct and painless drug delivery.

Lai Chiu Tang, senior industrial designer at Cambridge Consultants, said: “Fertility treatment is a very stressful and difficult process for a woman to go through and – after discussions with fertility nurses – we felt it was important to tackle the usability issues of self-administered PiO injections. Providing women with the confidence to administer a drug dosage without fear of unnecessary pain and stress will open doors to this technology platform being used in all manner of drug delivery. Improving the user experience will help women all over the world to gain access to health opportunities which were previously perceived to be unobtainable.”

“Patients may self-administer up to 70 injections during the course of treatment. Already burdened by the stress of infertility, our patients universally find the current manual injection method difficult, painful and anxiety-provoking. After seeing this auto-injector prototype, I have to say that I’m impressed as I believe any innovation in this area will be a great benefit to my patients.”


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