Belgian IVF team win prestigious The Best of What’s New Award


A team of scientists from the University of Hasselt, the hospital of East Limburg (ZOL) in Genk and the University of Colorado have received the prestigious The Best of What’s New Award from America's Popular Science Magazine. The team were selected for their development of a low cost IVF technique.

The new technique is based on growing embryos without needing to use an expensive IVF lab with CO2 incubators, medical gas supply and air purification systems. The simplified method gives comparable results to the traditional, more expensive technique. To date, 17 healthy babies have been born using the new IVF method. The cost of the new technique is estimated between 15 and 20 percent of the cost of the classic IVF treatment. The study is part of 'The Walking Egg' project, which aims to raise awareness of childlessness in developing countries.

The Low Cost IVF project, led by well-known fertility Doctor Willem Ombelet, was chosen from thousands of entries as the winner in the category 'health'. The researchers are really honoured by the award. According to Ombelet, “infertility is probably one of those health issues to which the least attention is paid in developing countries”. “Even so, it affects more than 200 million couples. Unwanted childlessness can have more far reaching social consequences in developing countries than in Western society, especially for women. As many families depend on their children to be able to survive, childlessness is not only a medical but also very much a social problem.”

Each year Popular Science Magazine publishes the most innovative scientific inventions. The winners of The Best of What’s New are included in the December issue of the magazine. For 27 years already, Popular Science has been honouring the innovations that surprise us, have a positive impact in the current world and those that challenge our idea of what is possible in the future", says Cliff Ransom, chief editor of Popular Science. “’The Best of What’s New Award’ is the magazine's mark of honour to the 100 winners – selected from thousands of entries –, each a revolution in their own domain.”