A century-old technique could help infertile women get pregnant without undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, a new study suggests.
This is an important outcome for women who would have had no other course of action other than to seek IVF treatment. It offers new hope to infertile couples.
Australian obstetrician and researcher Professor Ben Mol has found 40 per cent of infertile women get pregnant after their fallopian tubes are flushed out with iodised poppy seed oil.
Professor Mol says the procedure which takes just 15 minutes should be offered to all infertile women as a first resort before expensive IVF treatment is pursued.
The procedure, known as hysterosalpingography (HSG), is conducted under X-ray and was first carried out in 1917.
In the trial 550 women in the Netherlands had their fallopian tubes flushed out with water and 550 had their tubes flushed out with oil.
Forty per cent of the women whose tubes were flushed out with oil became pregnant within six months and 29 per cent of those whose tubes were flushed out with water became pregnant.
“Over the past century, pregnancy rates among infertile women reportedly increased after their tubes had been flushed with either water or oil during” a dye test of the fallopian tubes under X-ray,” said Mol.
“Until now, it has been unclear whether the type of solution used in the procedure was influencing the change in fertility,” said Mol.
“Our results have been even more exciting than we could have predicted, helping to confirm that an age-old medical technique still has an important place in modern medicine,” he added.
The technique has been used for 100 years without any known side-effects, we believe it is a viable treatment for infertility prior to couples seeking IVF.
Since flushing with dye is already done to check the fallopian tubes of infertile women, this exciting and well-designed study strongly suggests that flushing with oil could help some couples with infertility get pregnant naturally.
The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.