FAST TRACK INFERTILITY TREATMENT


Fertility patients could save time and money by skipping some recommended steps in treatment and going straight to IVF, according to a new study. This would mean that couples with fertility problems would not lose precious time in conceiving a child.

Fertility patients could save time and money by skipping some recommended steps in treatment and going straight to IVF, according to a new study. This would mean that couples with fertility problems would not lose precious time in conceiving a child.

In countries such as the US, doctors recommend that women seeking fertility treatment follow a three-step process. The first part involves receiving a drug called Clomid, which boosts egg production, and then injecting sperm into the body through artificial insemination. One cycle of this treatment has a 6% to 9% success rate.

Doctors typically attempt three cycles of artificial insemination with Clomid. If this fails, they move to the next step – artificial insemination in combination with “follicle stimulating” hormone (FSH).

Dangerous pregnancies


The administration of FSH ramps up egg production far beyond Clomid, and for this reason, use of the hormone often results in dangerous triplet pregnancies. This method has an estimated success rate of 9% to 15%. If three such cycles fail to work, women receive in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment as a last resort.

Because of the unpredictable risk of dangerous triplet and quadruplet pregnancies with FSH-based artificial insemination, some fertility clinics have started skipping this step and going straight to IVF if the Clomid treatment fails.

“More and more couples are skipping the middle step or going directly to IVF,” says Richard Reindollar of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, US. But experts have remained unsure whether this “fast-tracked” IVF is a wise move.

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