A team of UK fertility experts wants IVF clinics to consider taking advantage of a womans natural cycle during infertility treatment instead of routinely using drugs to stimulate ovaries into producing extra eggs.
A study published today (Wednesday 31 January) in Europes leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction*, has found that for the majority of women the chances of pregnancy are just as good if doctors rely on the womans natural menstrual cycle.
The researchers view is that, in 60% to 70% of cases, a series of treatment cycles without using ovarian stimulation would be safer, less stressful and mean fewer multiple births. It also costs only a fifth of the price of current practice and would bring IVF within the reach of more childless couples worldwide and enable countries that state-fund IVF to help more women.
Dr Geeta Nargund and colleagues reached their conclusion following a study of 181 treatments in 52 women at the Assisted Conception Unit at Kings College Hospital, London. All the women had treatment based around their natural menstrual cycles.
They were found to have the same chance of having a baby after an average of three to four cycles of treatment as women undergoing conventional drug-stimulated treatment about a third (32% as against 34%).
The first test-tube baby born in 1978 in England was the result of normal menstrual cycle IVF treatment, but the practice was pretty well abandoned with the onset of extensive use of hormonal drugs to stimulate the ovaries into producing more eggs per cycle. This new study is the first to establish that basing treatment on a womans natural cycle can achieve comparable results with those of drug-stimulated cycles.
Dr Nargund, who now directs the fertility centre at St. Georges Hospital, London, said: "Weve demonstrated that it is an effective and potentially cost-effective option for certain groups. With a trend now to reducing the number of embryos transferred, ou
Contact: Margaret Willson
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology