A new fertility treatment that purports to help older women get pregnant by boosting the energy in their eggs is now being offered in Toronto, but nowhere else in North America. A trial in the US was voluntarily suspended after the Food and Drug Administration suggested the treatment may be considered an "investigational new drug" requiring approval. In Canada, it may fall outside regulation, though Health Canada has not made any formal response to date.
The treatment, called Augment, involves extracting mitochondria, a cell's energy supply, from a woman's own ovarian stem cells and injecting them into her eggs during in vitro fertilization. In December 2014, OvaScience, the US-based company that developed Augment, announced that the treatment would be offered commercially. No clinical data on efficacy were provided, though they noted that 150 women had been enrolled in experimental trials at four sites worldwide. These include the Toronto Centre for Advanced Reproductive Technology (TCART) and clinics in London, Istanbul and Dubai. Company Chief Executive Officer Michelle Dipp said they expected Augment would be used in approximately 1000 paying patients in 2015.... see more