The piOna auto-injector warms the oil to make it less viscous and then uses a syringe fitted with a 22-gauge (1.5-inch) needle to inject the progesterone deep into the muscle.

The auto-injector also guides the patient though the injection process – with audible, visual and tactile signals at each stage and the needle hidden from view – reducing the injection duration by up to 30%, claims the company.

The device also helps in reducing the amount of swelling and additional side effects around the injected area.

Boston University School of Medicine obstetrics and gynecology associate professor Wendy Kuohung said patients self-administer up to 70 injections during the course of fertility treatment.

"Already burdened by the stress of infertility, our patients universally find the current manual injection method difficult, painful and anxiety-provoking," Kuohung added.

"After seeing this auto-injector prototype, I have to say that I’m impressed as I believe any innovation in this area will be a great benefit to my patients."