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Study finds popular fertility treatment ‘painful and pointless’


Doug Hendrie


24/01/2019 4:21:23 PM

A prevalent – and invasive – IVF procedure does not increase birth rates, a new study has found.

The treatment – endometrial scratching – was previously thought to make it easier for embryos to implant in the uterus.
The treatment – endometrial scratching – was previously thought to make it easier for embryos to implant in the uterus.

A major global study has found a common treatment does not work to boost fertility for IVF patients.
 
The treatment – endometrial scratching – was previously thought to make it easier for embryos to implant in the uterus. The procedure involves a doctor using a catheter to scratch the lining of the uterus, which many women describe as very painful.
 
The study, ‘A Randomized trial of endometrial scratching before in vitro fertilization’, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It involved almost 1400 women across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Sweden and Belgium, and found no increase in the rate of live births for women who had the procedure done.
 
The study’s lead author, Professor Cindy Farquhar of the University of Auckland, said the practice is of no use.
 
‘On the basis of this study – which is the biggest and most robust to date – we would encourage IVF clinics to stop offering it,’ she told the ABC.
 
And Australia’s top IVF professional body said doctors should stop recommending it.
 
Professor Luk Rombauts from the Fertility Society of Australia told the ABC the study findings will change what advice is given to IVF patients.
 
‘I would no longer recommend [endometrial scratching] for patients who come through the door for IVF,’ he said.
 
More than 80% of IVF clinics currently offer the procedure, which costs up to $700. The procedure is usually taken up by couples who have not become pregnant after several rounds of IVF.



endometrial scratching fertility in vitro fertilisation



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