Israeli Research Helps Triple Fertility Success Rate

Published: July 13th 2010
in News » World

Early embryo development following fertilization.

The success rate of those who undergo In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) may have increased even further, thanks to research conducted at the Meir Medical Center and Tel Aviv University.


According to a new report by Israeli researchers, the over-the-counter vitamin supplement, DHEA, could triple the rate of successful pregnancies for women undergoing the IVF procedure and help carry the baby to full term. 


DHEA is an endogenous steroid which is naturally produced by the brain and has been implicated in a broad range of biological effects in humans.  It has been called an anti-aging drug and is used by seniors to increase their testosterone and by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug.  It has been prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency which manages drug testing for the Olympics and other sports.


Prof. Adrian Shulman, the director of the IVF Unit of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Meir Medical Center, conducted the first controlled study on the effects of DHEA on women undergoing infertility treatments and discovered the encouraging results. 


Shulman and his fellow researchers conducted a study on a control group and another group.  Both groups consisted of women who received treatment for poor ovulation, except the second control group also received the DHEA supplement.  This group, which consisted of around 20 women, took 75mg of the supplement daily for 40 days before starting fertility treatments, and continued for up to four months following the treatment. 


The group which combined the treatment with the supplement were more likely to conceive, and in a surprise discovery, more likely to experience a healthy pregnancy and delivery.  “In the DHEA group, there was a 23% live birth rate as opposed to a 4% rate in the control group,” explained Shulman. “More than that, of the pregnancies in the DHEA group, all but one ended in healthy deliveries.”


Shulman has recently published the results of the study in AYALA, the journal of the Israeli Fertility Association.  “We need to look into what the drug actually does to make the body more fertile.  It could be affecting components such as the quality of the eggs or the follicles,” said Shulman.

Related articles: (In vitro fertilization, fertility, embryo, Meir Medical Center)
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