Press release 06/07/2022

Long-term Infant Data Provides Reassurance on Novel Capacitation – In vitro Maturation (CAPA-IVM) Fertility Method

July, 6th, 2022 – A new 2-year infant follow-up study reported no difference in developmental outcomes in children born after capacitation-in vitro maturation (CAPA-IVM) compared to those born through conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) following ovarian stimulation. The study was designed to detect developmental delay in children in terms of communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving and personal–social behavior. It included a total of 231 children who were evaluated at 6 months, 12 months and 24 months after birth.

The study results were presented by Prof. Dr. Tuong M Ho at the 38th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) on July 6th, 2022 in Milano (Italy) and have been published in Human Reproduction1, a leading reproductive medicine journal.

Prof. Dr. Lan Vuong from MyDuc hospital, HCMC, Vietnam, who led the study, said: “One of the key messages of this study is that there does not appear to be any significant concern about the safety of CAPA-IVM on childhood development.” The current results complement recent findings that CAPA-IVM does not show any major epigenetic alterations or imprinting defects in in-vitro matured oocytes2. Dr. Vuong believes that continuing building evidence on CAPA-IVM is important to physicians considering alternative approaches to current fertility treatment.

CAPA-IVM is a novel approach to in-vitro maturation of oocytes recovered after no or minimal ovarian stimulation, that incorporates a capacitation step in the maturation of oocytes in vitro which enhances oocyte developmental competence. CAPA-IVM is a patient-friendly assisted reproductive technology method that may become an alternative option to conventional ovarian stimulation and IVF, with reduced treatment burden for the patient. The worldwide rights to the CAPA-IVM technology are owned by Lavima Fertilty, Inc.


1.  Vuong LN, Nguyen MHN, Nguyen NA, Ly TT, Tran VTT, Nguyen NT, Hoang HLT, Le XTH, Pham TD, Smitz JEJ, Mol BW, Norman RJ, Ho TM. Development of children born from IVM versus IVF: 2-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Human Reproduction 2022, pp. 1–9, deac115

2.  Saenz-de-Juano MD, Ivanova E, Romero S, Lolicato F, Sánchez F, Van Ranst H, Krueger F, Segonds-Pichon A, De Vos M, Andrews S, Smitz J, Kelsey G, Anckaert E. DNA methylation and mRNA expression of imprinted genes in blastocysts derived from an improved in vitro maturation method for oocytes from small antral follicles in polycystic ovary syndrome patients. Human Reproduction 2019 Sep 29;34(9):1640-1649.


Prof. Andrè Rosenthal

Press release, March 9, 2022

VUB spin-off Lavima Fertility develops novel fertility treatment that reduces risks and burden

March, 9th, 2022 – Couples unable to get pregnant naturally often resort to In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) to fulfil their desire to have children. To obtain mature eggs for IVF, women typically undergo ovarian stimulation with hormones which can be very burdensome. A team of scientists of the Follicle Biology (FOBI) Research Laboratory  at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in collaboration with the UZ Brussel fertility clinic has succeeded in developing a novel method for In Vitro Maturation (IVM) of oocytes, called CAPA-IVM. This is a method allowing a mild and low-burden fertility treatment for subfertile patients. To bring the technique to the patient, Lavima Fertility, a spin-off company of the VUB and UZ Brussel, was created.

The CAPA-IVM method is an alternative approach to obtaining eggs in women undergoing IVF, in which the egg cells of the woman are retrieved after minimal or even absent hormone treatment and then matured in vitro. The eggs are then fertilized and follow the standard embryo culture and transfer procedures as in standard IVF. The CAPA-IVM technology could become a more patient-friendly alternative to standard IVF as it reduces the exposure to hormones and avoids the associated hormonal side effects.

Initial clinical evidence of the efficacy and safety of the CAPA-IVM technology is very promising. A total of 96 babies were born by CAPA-IVM as a result of the published randomized study comparing CAPA-IVM to standard IVF1. The neonatal health of the babies born from either IVF approach was similar.1

CAPA-IVM can also be applied in the field of oncofertility which aims at preserving oocytes in female cancer patients.

“The main advantage of CAPA-IVM is that it reduces risks and burden for people who wish to become parents. We also enable new options for cancer patients.”

Em. Prof. Dr. Johan Smitz, VUB

“We are proud that research from UZ Brussel can now be further harnessed to help even more patients through the creation of Lavima Fertility. This opens up perspectives for many cancer patients and women with PCOS.”

Prof. Dr. Marc Noppen, CEO UZ Brussel


1. Vuong L, et al.:  In vitro maturation of oocytes versus conventional IVF in women with infertility and a high antral follicle count: a randomized non-inferiority controlled trial. Hum Reprod.  2020,35: 2537-2547.


Prof. Dr. Andre Rosenthal

Prof. Dr. Johan Smitz 

About Lavima Fertility,  Inc.

Lavima, a US stock corporation, was founded in 2020 by em. Prof. Dr. Johan Smitz (VUB), Prof. Dr. Andre Rosenthal (ex Roche Diagnostics, US) and Elien van Hecke (ex Roche Diagnostics, Belgium) based on the work carried out over the past ten years at VUB and UZ Brussel. In September 2020, Lavima obtained an exclusive license to the CAPA technology from VUB. In 2021, Dr. Joan-Carles Arce (ex Ferring Pharmaceuticals) joined the founder team. Lavima is pursuing the future development and commercialization of the CAPA technology.

About FOBI

The Follicle Biology Laboratory of the VUB carries out research in the field of oocyte biology including the design and validation of new culture systems for ovarian follicles and unripe egg cells to establish practical, applicable strategies for fertility clinics.

About Brussels IVF

Brussels IVF (former CRG), the fertility clinic of UZ Brussel, specialises in fertility treatments (ART). We have an international reputation as pioneers in the development of ART-techniques and their application. Since the creation in 1983, more than 40.000 babies have been born following fertility treatment of the parents.

As a university institution within the VUB network, Brussels IVF also has an academic mission: our centre is also a training institute and acts as an engine for scientific research.

About VUB

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

About UZ Brussel

UZ Brussel (University Hospital Brussels) has a staff of more than 3,800 employees. It is attached to the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels) on the Brussels Health Campus in Jette. With 721 hospital beds, it accounts for 30,779 admissions of patients each year from Belgium and abroad, 412,246 consultations (emergencies not included) and 78,840 patients at the emergency care. Its philosophy is founded on three principles: Dutch-speaking, pluralist and social. As a university hospital, it also has a teaching mission and conducts scientific research.

About VUB Vice-Rectorate Innovation & Industry Relations

The mission of the Vice-Rectorate Innovation & Industry Relations is to create a positive impact on society through the valorization of scientific research. Its operational and multidisciplinary team, VUB TechTransfer, aims to connect the university’s research expertise with society-industry, together with its partners VUB Foundation and Crosstalks.