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Friday, August 08, 2008

Common Treatments for Fertility Problems Not Working

I have been wondering over the many years that IVF has been available what if any effort is made to look at related problems caused by the use of aspartame, exposure to water fluoridation and fluoride based drugs, low and non-fat diets, thyroid and other health problems related to fertility concerns, including - but not limited to - low sperm count and potential problems with ova and EMF.

It always seems that the whole process is just focused down a long, dark, and expensive tunnel.

Then I think, gee, we (as herbalists) have used many beneficial herbs to help both the potential father and mother improve their nutritional status.

I can think of the formulas I've relied on that have helped people reach their goals, not so expensively and in a much healthier way.

Perhaps if these 'experts' would learn something new and creative, the stats might improve.
Two common treatments for fertility problems do not work, an Aberdeen University-led study suggests.

UK guidelines recommend the drug clomid and artificial insemination for couples who have trouble conceiving despite no known cause for their infertility.

But trials of 580 women in Scotland found the treatments were no better than trying to get pregnant naturally, the British Medical Journal reports.

A third of couples who struggle to get pregnant have unexplained infertility.

It means, despite a battery of tests, doctors cannot find a reason why they struggle to conceive.

"It sends a positive message that the chances of success spontaneously are pretty convincing"
Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya, study leader

The options listed by the National Institute of Clinical and Health Excellence (NICE) include up to six cycles of unstimulated intrauterine insemination - where sperm is inserted directly into the woman's womb - and use of clomid (clomifene citrate), a drug which stimulates the ovaries.

The treatments have both been offered for many years because "doing nothing" is an unpopular choice among patients, the researchers said.

But until now there has been little rigorous testing of their effectiveness.

Success rate

Five hospitals were involved in the study: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary and Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Scientists from Oxford University also took part in the research.

In the six-month study, participants had all suffered unexplained fertility problems for more than two years.

Overall, 101 women ended up having a successful pregnancy.

Of those who tried to conceive naturally, 17% became pregnant and gave birth to a live baby.

For clomid, the birth rate was 14%, and insemination 23% - not significantly different from the chances of success with no intervention.

However, the women undergoing active treatment were more reassured.

Between 10 and 20% of women taking the drug had side-effects, including abdominal pain, bloating, hot flushes, nausea and headaches.

The drug also increases the risk of twins and triplets, which can be more dangerous for mother and babies than a singleton pregnancy.

But the researchers were quick to point out that it is a very useful treatment for women who have problems with ovulation.

'Cheap but common'

Study leader, Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya, from the University of Aberdeen, said the findings challenge current practice.

"The first thing is it sends a positive message that the chances of success spontaneously are pretty convincing."

He added: "These treatments are cheap but common - if you total all the money, time and effort spent on them, it's considerable."

In an accompanying article, researchers from the Assisted Conception Unit at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, said because of the lack of evidence, many couples with unexplained infertility endure "expensive, potentially hazardous, and often unnecessary treatments".

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield and secretary of the British Fertility Society, said: "It is very important that we have a strong evidence base to support the treatments that are offered to infertile couples and as such this study is very valuable.

"Intrauterine insemination has been offered to couples with unexplained infertility for many years, but if there is no benefit in doing so then we should re-evaluate the clinical guidelines so that NHS money is used wisely."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/08/07


Clomid Side Effects said...

My name is Helen Page and i would like to show you my personal experience with Clomid.

I am 30 years old. I have taken for 3 months. My progesterone level after my first dose of Clomid was 65 so I knew that I had ovulated. Couldn't try the second cycle on it because my husband went out-of-town while I was O'ing, go figure. Hoping it worked this month!!

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Mood swings, increased appetite, hot flashes, increased pain during ovulation, abdominal pain, mild but infrequent headaches. Also, I used to be on a consistent 28 day cycle, but I think Clomid might have lengthened it as I'm now on a 31-32 day cycle.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Helen Page

herbalYODA said...

I appreciate your comments, and I certainly wish you success.

Additionally you might consider - if using any artificial sweeteners - to stop them completely as they interfere with fertility. You might also have a proper and thorough endocrine evalaution, especially for thyroid (TSH, Free T3, Free T4, rT3), and specifically if you have been using birth control pills. (See other posts re BCP and nutritional deficiency).

There are natural approaches to resolve this situation, just fyi, and if you contact my office I can offer more information.