Hundreds of couples have successfully used the kit already
A £100 ‘condom’ is helping childless couples to overcome fertility struggles in the comfort of their own home – and is already proving more successful than other methods.
The device, called The Stork, uses a more low-tech technique called intracervical insemination, or ICI.
It uses a condom-like sheath to collect sperm which is then transferred close to the cervix by using an applicator similar to a tampon.
The device was launched in 2014 and has already seen at least 150 babies born to couples who have used it, new data confirms.
The device can be used at home instead of in a clinic
A study being revealed at the Fertility Show in London this weekend will tell how the kit has a clinically proven 20% success rate.
One in seven couples in the UK has difficulty conceiving and although health watchdogs NICE say the NHS should provide up to three cycles of fertility treatment rationing and refusal is common.
Childless couples face a postcode lottery which forces three out of five to pay for private treatment. But a single cycle of IVF costs around £5,000 and only 32 per cent of women under the age of 35 will successfully give birth.
The Stork, which costs £99.99, is left in place for four to six hours, to enable sperm to swim upwards to fertilise the woman’s egg.
A diagram of the device
Women can go about their usual activities before removing the cap via a string-pull, as they would a tampon.
Women’s health expert, Dr Catherine Hood, says: "The beauty of this technology is that it is non-invasive, can be performed in the privacy of the couples’ home and is much cheaper than comparable treatment offered by private fertility clinics.”
A peer-reviewed clinical trial, published in the journal Surgical Technology International, which compared scores for the quality and quantity of sperm present in cervical mucus, showed scores increased by more than 300 per cent in 85 per cent of couples when they used the home-conception kit.
At least 150 babies have been born using the kit
Professor Nick Raine-Fenning, a consultant gynaecologist and reproductive specialist at Nottingham University Hospital says: "The results from this clinical study are significant as they show The Stork can deliver three times more sperm to the cervix compared to natural intercourse.
"This could be beneficial for couples experiencing common fertility difficulties such as low sperm count and motility problems."