IVIG therapy is used by fertility patients who have recurrent implantation failures or recurrent pregnancy losses. IVIG therapy is thought to repress a woman’s immune system, which may be attacking the embryo or fetus, mistaking it for a foreign body. IVIG is made up of human antibodies, derived from washed and processed donor blood. During the treatment, IVIG Therapy is meant to reduce the amount of natural killer (NK) cells in the body, and/or may absorb or block a woman’s antibodies, which are causing the body to attack the pregnancy.
Women who have tested positive for natural killer cells and have experienced multiple miscarriages or implantation failures, may opt for the use of IVIG therapy to increase their chance of conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to term.
During a treatment session, IVIG is introduced to the body very slowly through an intravenous drip in the arm, possibly taking several hours. It is recommended that IVIG be administered prior to embryo transfer, and then two additional times following a positive pregnancy test.
Currently the cost of IVIG therapy is upwards toward $3000 per treatment for medications, and on average $150 for monitoring costs at CNY Fertility. The nursing costs can be submitted to insurance; however, IVIG therapy is seldom covered by insurance.
Because this medication is so costly, and autoimmune diseases affect 9 million UK citizens alone, it’s capturing the attention of public health officials in developing countries. Recently, Professor Richard Please won the Universal Biotech Innovation Prize 2013 for a project that deals with the development of Hexagard, a biomimetic to replace IVIG Therapy which would be much cheaper and approximately 50 times more effective. Read more about Hexagard here.
NOTE: Prices are always subject to change and medication costs can always vary.