Is IVF a waste of time?

Infertility expert Professor Robert Winston has said better, cheaper and less-stressful options should be offered to couples struggling to conceive instead of IVF. Speaking on This Morning, the professor said alternatives – such as hormone treatment and laparoscopies – aren’t as expensive and are more effective than implanting embryos. He told presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: ‘The reality is most IVF treatments fail. Only one third of implanted embryos end up as babies.’

He said IVF has become the ‘go to’ option for couples struggling to conceive naturally and this wouldn’t be the case for other ailments. Comparing the situation to if someone had a headache, he said they would not be immediately be rushed into having brain surgery.

Instead the cause would be investigated – the headache could be caused by a toothache or a neck problem. He said infertility should be dealt with in the same way – ‘making a diagnosis before the treatment is key’.

Prof Winston said if the causes of infertility were investigated more thoroughly via X-Rays and laparoscopies a diagnosis could be made that might not have to mean IVF is necessary.

He said many couples who are being told they need IVF could instead be better off being prescribed hormonal treatments or having tubal damage corrected. He explained: ‘A large number of people with hormonal problems are not getting the right treatment. Hormone drugs are cheaper but many go straight to IVF.

‘One of the most common causes of infertility is tubal damage and this can be investigated with a telescope and then with minor surgery to release and open tubes. ‘Statistically these treatments and hormonal drugs are more effective than IVF and leave patients more likely to be permanently fertile afterwards.’

For couples who have been told they have an ‘unexplained fertility’ problem, Prof Winston – whose Essential Fertility Guide was published this week – said they should push their GP for further investigations. ‘Unexplained fertility is not a diagnosis. There will only be a very small minority who are classed as having explained infertility,’ he said.

‘The problem is the advice given by GPs is not good enough, they are stressed and have a lot of patients and often see infertility as a minor problem, I get that feeling anyway.’

He explained: ‘A large number of people with hormonal problems are not getting the right treatment. Hormone drugs are cheaper but many go straight to IVF. ‘One of the most common causes of infertility is tubal damage and this can be investigated with a telescope and then with minor surgery to release and open tubes.

‘Statistically these treatments and hormonal drugs are more effective than IVF and leave patients more likely to be permanently fertile afterwards.’ For couples who have been told they have an ‘unexplained fertility’ problem, Prof Winston – whose Essential Fertility Guide was published this week – said they should push their GP for further investigations.

He said too many couples are being told to try IVF instead of seeking the root cause of their infertility being fully in investigated. ‘They could have an X-Ray of their uterus or a laparoscopy. The NHS is spending lot of money on IVF but better investigation might save money.’

In this regard, he said the causes of miscarriage should also be investigated more fully. ‘Miscarriage is rather neglected in the health service. We need to take it much more seriously and investigate it, often it’s due to genetic and chromosomal disorders – sometimes these can be screened for,’ he said.

For those currently struggling to conceive, he said many will fall pregnant within a year of trying so he advised them to wait this long before seeking help – especially if they have regular periods. He added in a Daily Mail article earlier this week that desperate couples should be wary of splashing out on treatments that are not medically recognised or proven to work.

He said: ‘Clinics may offer herbal treatments, courses of vitamins, aromatherapy, homeopathy, various Chinese remedies and acupuncture. The number of such treatments sold to desperate patients prepared to try anything is scandalous. None are regulated by the HFEA and none are proved to be effective.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3229616/Professor-Robert-Winston-says-couples-struggling-conceive-missing-cheaper-treatments-cure-infertility.html#ixzz3lhW1RDif

 

 

 

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