Midwife, Chloë Mullholland, reviews the Béa Treatment Kit.
Good news! Béa Fertility are bringing non-invasive, at-home intracervical insemination fertility treatments into UK homes, making it easier to access effective treatment. In the UK, infertility affects 1 in 7 heterosexual couples, yet the treatment options available are extremely limited. NHS-funded treatments are something of a postcode lottery, while private fertility clinics can cost thousands per cycle.
Enter the Béa Fertility Treatment Kit. Created by a team of medical experts and embryologists the kit is designed to provide a full intracervical insemination treatment, to be used from the comfort of your home. Costing ⅕ of the price of IUI treatments, Béa Fertility hopes this kit will widen access to treatment.
Where did this new fertility treatment come from?
ICI itself isn’t actually new. In fact, ICI was the de facto treatment in the UK up until the 1980s, when scientific and medical advancements led to the development of ‘sperm washing’ and – the now commonly used – IUI treatment method. ICI was pushed out, not because it wasn’t effective, but because it was less profitable than IUI and IVF. Béa Fertility are simplifying modernising ICI and creating a kit which allows users to safely perform the treatment at home.
Béa Fertility was co-founded by David O’Rourke, Tess Cosad and George Thomas, and was born from the belief that fertility care needs to be more accessible. Family is a human right, and the sector as it is structured today does not honour that. “Having seen friends and family go through the heartbreak of trying to conceive, I was acutely aware of the inadequacies in the system that made fertility treatment inaccessible or unaffordable for many,” shares Tess. “Factors as arbitrary as your age, sexual orientation and postcode can prevent you from accessing NHS fertility provision, and the lack of regulation at private clinics means a round of IVF can cost you anything from £3,000 to £15,000.”
So, let’s break this down more simply. How about a good old fashioned pros and cons list, for a good old-fashioned fertility treatment.
Pros of this new fertility treatment…
It’s the first of its kind
“Today, you won’t find a complete treatment kit that offers everything you need for a complete cycle, in one box,” says Tess. Whilst there are some companies that sell engineered menstrual cups, it can be highly difficult to properly insert the device at the opening of the cervix without an applicator.
It’s more cost effective
When trying to conceive the best way to improve your chances of success is cumulative – the more times you try, the higher the chance of success. Using the kit can “improve your chances of conception by 40% over three months, and by as much as 60% over six months (whilst the global IVF success rate is 25%).”
In essence, the Béa Fertility Treatment Kit is an at-home version of an old clinical treatment called intracervical insemination (ICI). This was the de facto fertility treatment between the 1940s and 1970s. It was phased out in favour of IVF and IUI, not because it didn’t work but because it’s not as profitable for fertility clinics. The Béa vision was born out of the belief that this is not fair. “Intracervical insemination involves placing a small cup of semen close to (or on) the cervix at the time of ovulation, where it’s left in-situ for four to twelve hours,” explains Tess. Due to it being non-invasive, women can go about their days as normal with the cup in place, much like when using a menstrual cup.
The company’s main focus for the launch is inclusivity: as they stress, they’ve built the device for everyone. “Those less able, women unable to have intercourse due to sexual trauma or other pelvic conditions, LGBTQ+ families, single women using known donor sperm… What we’re most proud of is the inclusivity the Béa Fertility Treatment Kit is designed for, and we stand strong in our mission to make sure we support every single family, however they get their start,” explains Tess.
It’s non-hormonal and non-invasive
Last but by no means least, the kit is both non-hormonal and non-invasive. “You don’t have to go to doctors appointments or fertility clinics, or undergo rigorous tests,” she explains. “Our kit is safe, simple and comfortable to use at home, meaning the experience of undergoing fertility treatment with Béa Fertility is very different to going down the clinical route.”
Cons of this new fertility treatment…
It’s important to note that, as it’s a first-of-its-kind product, there are no reviews as of yet; meaning you can’t compare notes on someone else’s experience.
Although, when I ask Tess what using the Béa Fertility Treatment Kit is like, she maintains that it will be a familiar experience to many. “It’s completely safe. Intracervical insemination is considered a non-invasive treatment – it will feel a little bit like having a tampon or menstrual cup inserted. The fact that it is non-hormonal mitigates most of the risks that you might expect with other types of treatment.”
Still unconvinced? Midwife, Chloë Mullholland, gives her expert opinion.
“Going through struggles with fertility can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life,” she explains. “Access to fertility treatment on the NHS can be a postcode lottery, with some areas offering far easier access to help than others, and the option of paying privately can be out of reach for many, leaving some people with little help at all.”
“The Béa at-home fertility kit looks like a great option as it adds a little more choice to the world of fertility treatment,” she shares. The non-invasive element is attractive to many as Chloë says, “Not to mention the fact that it can be used at home, which means your privacy is maintained and you get to avoid that uncomfortable ‘legs in stirrups’ moment at a fertility clinic.”
The bottom line? “[…] it seems like a great product and one that is certainly welcomed into the fertility arena.”
This article was edited by Béa Fertility, read the original article by Ally Head in full in Marie Claire.
Disclaimer: Gender is experienced differently by all, particularly when it comes to our fertility. Our articles are written by a variety of authors, all of whom bring their experiences into their writing. Some articles will reflect these experiences more than others, and our goal is always to create content that represents all families.