Scientists have developed a ‘fertility wand’ that has been shown to double the chances of becoming pregnant. The pregnancy rate among women undergoing IVF who had the new treatment was 32.7 per cent, compared to 13.7 per cent in comparison groups who did not have the therapy.
The live birth rate was also higher in the treatment group — 22.4 per cent compared to 9.8 per cent in the untreated group. The new treatment works on the womb lining. Fertility experts believe a poor quality womb lining may be a significant factor in women struggling to conceive.
In order for a woman to become pregnant, a fertilised egg, or embryo, has to become implanted into the womb lining. This process is complex, involving hormones, growth factors and chemicals produced by the immune system called cytokines.
The process is not fully understood, and there is no treatment if it goes wrong. However, Israeli researchers recently made the discovery that slight damage to the womb lining actually results in improved fertility. They found that 45 women who had undergone a uterine biopsy — where tissue was taken from the lining of the womb — had almost twice the rate of pregnancies and births as a control group.
A U.S. study found this damage triggered a repair response in the body, producing growth factors and cytokines. It also increased the activity of genes thought to play a role in preparing the lining for implantation.
These findings have been put to the test in a new trial involving 100 women who’d previously failed to conceive with IVF, despite their embryos being of a good quality. They were either given the new treatment or were allocated to a control group.
The treatment involves inserting a long plastic tube-like device (known as the Pipelle) into the womb and then rotating it 360 degrees to ‘scratch’ the lining. Patients in the study were given painkillers 30 minutes before the procedure, which was carried out twice in one month.
The results, reported in the Journal of Human Reproduction Sciences, showed the pregnancy rate in the treated group was over double that of the control group.
Further clinical trials using the technique are now underway. Some 500 women are being recruited at Mansoura University in Egypt, while in another trial at the Sheba Medical Centre, Israel, 70 IVF patients will be randomly, selected to undergo the therapy with the Pipelle device.
Commenting on the research, Sanjay Vyas, a gynaecologist at Southmead Hospital, Bristol says: ‘This is very interesting work. Implantation failure when the quality of embryos transferred is good can be heartbreaking because it cannot be predicted.
‘This intervention is simple, and if it genuinely improves the implantation rate, it would be very good news. ‘We await the results of the larger trial with interest.’
Article: 19th December 2011 www.dailymail.co.uk
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