Study: New Natural Treatment Promises To Increase IVF Success Rate & Stop Miscarriage
Posted Jan 03 2011 8:34pm
A new study found that a simple natural oil emulsion could be the key to a more successful IVF. Here’s what you need to know…
By Colette Bouchez
If a group of British researchers are right, older women looking to increase their odds of a successful IVF – while also reducing their risk of miscarriage - could be as easy as using a simple, inexpensive soy-based oil treatment one week prior to when your fertility procedure takes place.
That’s the conclusion of some new research being presented later this week at the British Fertility Society Meeting in Dublin , Ireland on January 6th.
Here researchers from Care Fertility, an IVF clinic in Nottingham, England will present evidence that an intravenous treatment using a prescription-only soy-based oil known as Intralipid prior to an IVF procedure , dramatically increases pregnancy success rates while reducing the risk of miscarriage.
Dr. George Ndukwe, of the Care Fertility Clinic in Nottingham where the study was conducted, told the Daily Mail: “Every day in my clinic I see women who have had numerous IVF cycles all with the same negative outcome and no baby. We are now devoting our attention to finding answers when nature goes wrong.”
According to Ndukwe and his team at least some of those answers can be found in Intralipid, the soy based fatty acid that researchers say plays a role in helping a newly implanted embryo attach to the mother’s uterus and begin to thrive.
The Study: Research on Intralipid involved 96 women – average age 37 - all of whom experienced at least 6 previous failed IVF attempts. Fifty of the women in the group received infusions of the soy-based oil, given by intravenous drip about a week before their IVF was to take place. Forty six of the women received no treatment.
All the women subsequently underwent an IVF procedure, which included removing their eggs, combining them with sperm in a laboratory dish , and then implanting the resulting embryo into the woman’s uterus.
The Result: Fifty percent of the women who received the Intralipid infusions achieved successful pregnancies, compared to just 9 percent of those not treated.
In terms of miscarriage, just two women who received Intralipid miscarried (about 8 percent) compared to seven miscarriages in the group who did not receive the infusions (about 64 percent).
What is Intralipid – And Can It Help You?
So what is this seemingly “magic” fluid called Intralipid? Lest you think it’s a brand new “miracle” drug, guess again. Intralipid was approved by the FDA in 1962 to help correct an essential fatty acid and calorie deficiency in those who are unable to eat normally – either due to gastrointestinal difficulties or the inability to swallow.
It consists of 20% Soybean Oil, 1.2% Egg Yolk Phospholipids, 2.25% Glycerin, and Water . Given as an intravenous infusion it bypasses the stomach and goes directly into the bloodstream to supply the body with several essential fatty acids. These are substances required for many biological functions, including reproduction – but they can’t be made by the body. As such they must be obtained via food, supplements, or in this case the intravenous infusion.
Reduce Inflammation – Get Pregnant Easier
Although the new study surrounding the use of Intralipid for fertility purposes is new, it’s important to point out that previous studies have found that other sources of essential fatty acids have had similar fertility-related results.
Indeed, in one study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that simply adding more foods high in an essential fatty acid known as Omega 3 to the diet had enough of an impact on reproduction to kick start ovulation in women with PCOS ( poly cystic ovary syndrome) who were not ovulating at all.
Other studies have shown that foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids ( like cold water fish, flax seeds and walnuts) can encourage a healthy conception in all women by reducing inflammation that can frequently impact the production of fertility hormones, as well as cause inflammation within the uterus that could result in pregnancy loss.
Indeed, Dr. Ndukwe suggests - and many fertility experts agree - that a leading cause of infertility in women today is related to inflammation, often the result of undiagnosed immune system malfunctions. This, he believes causes an excess production of white blood cells (called natural killer cells) which he says ‘fight’ the pregnancy by triggering the production of chemicals that attack the placenta or the embryo. And indeed, abnormally high levels of white blood cells have been shown in some studies to increase the risk of miscarriage.
In fact, currently the arthritis drug Humira – which reduces inflammation - is being used by some fertility experts to boost pregnancy rates in some women suspected of having inflammatory –related infertility. Moreover, Professor Siobhan Quenby, of Solihull Hospital and Warwick University, in England, has already successfully used an anti-inflammatory asthma drug to curb the immune response in a pilot trial of women plagued with chronic pregnancy loss.
And of course, there is the old standby of taking one baby aspirin a day beginning two weeks prior to conception and continuing throughout the first trimester, to reduce the risk of miscarriage – a regimen long prescribed by many fertility doctors. The active ingredient in the baby aspirin: the anti-inflammatory compound salicylic acid.
But it’s also important to remember that studies show that for many women, simply increasing their intake of essential fatty acids – particularly Omega 3 fatty acids – either via diet or supplements, can have a similar positive impact on reducing inflammation, while increasing conception rates and decreasing the risk of miscarriage in women who do conceive.
Moreover, once you do get pregnant, studies also show that essential fatty acids reduce the risk of premature birth while helping women avoid pre-eclampsia and possibly post partum depression after birth.
Is Intralipid Right For You?
The new study on Intralipid reports that the treatment is easily tolerated, has few side effects and is relatively cheap to administer. So in this respect, it may be worth talking to your doctor about adding it to your IVF regimen.
At the same time, however, remember that Mother Nature offers similar results via foods and nature-based supplements of essential fatty acids, including Omega 3’s as well as fatty acids known as linoleic acid and gamma linoleic acid, otherwise known as GLA.
Copyright by Colette Bouchez 2010 - All Rights Reserved. In addition to US Copyright, the text of this FERTILITY BLOG is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. All Formatting and style elements of this page are not available under this license and Colette Bouchez retains all rights in those elements.