New research published Tuesday in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility has suggested that there is no enough evidence to show that “add-on” treatments during an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle could help you get pregnant.
In fact, the research found that such treatments are expensive and may potentially increase the risk of health issues.
In traditional fertility clinics, add-on treatments are usually not offered. You will come across such treatments in research clinics that experiment with various fertility treatments.
Dr. William Schoolcraft told Insider, “There aren’t good studies out there to say that add-on treatments help pregnancy rates.”
Dr. Schoolcraft, who is the founder and medical director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in Denver, added, “Patients are hungry. But I’m here to say: The science says it’s not helpful, so I don’t think that’s in your best interest.”
Researchers of the new study looked at five add-on treatments – such as immunotherapy, endometrial receptivity array, endometrial scratching, uterine artery vasodilation, and intrauterine HCG.
Understandably, many eager patients are tempted to sign on for those extra procedures but the researchers cautioned that they should not go for experimental therapies that are clinically not yet proven. An extra drug or procedure comes with additional risk.
Co-author of the new search Sarah Lensen from the University of Auckland said, “Use of any drugs or techniques carried out in addition to the standard process carry a potential risk, both to the woman and a developing fetus.”
The researchers explained that the risks are great when the procedure includes any kind of manipulation to the embryo or when a medication is administered during pregnancy.
When desperate patients come to Dr. Schoolcraft pleading for add-on treatment, he usually counsels them to be extra cautious and tells them to remain patient. “Sometimes, repeating a cycle is all you need to do. You have a different crop of eggs, different sperm. It’s a different month,” added Dr. Schoolcraft.