For women with infertility who fail to become pregnant with IVF, there is now new hope.  A research paper published in Frontiers in Medicine, studied the outcomes of 403 couples who were treated with Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) after failing to become pregnant with IVF, some having undergone as many as 9 unsuccessful rounds of IVF.

For women between 35 and 38 the chance of a successful live birth was 37.5% by lifetable analysis and for women over age 40 the success rate was 27.4%. Overall, 32.1% of women who have failed multiple IVF treatments can expect to have a baby using RRM. Previous published research demonstrated an overall success rate of 61.5% in couples with infertility that had not previously used IVF but who had struggled for an average of 5.6 years without having a baby.

Infertility affects 1 in 6 women; many undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) which hopes to bypass the problem by fertilizing embryos outside the body and then implanting them in the woman with hopes of a successful pregnancy. Sadly, according to the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Association (HFEA) only 23% of women between 35 and 37 are successful, falling to 15% for those 35 -38 and 9% for those between 40 -42.

Studies have identified factors that predict whether a woman is likely to achieve pregnancy; older age and length of time trying are the two most important factors. The women in this study had factors that made it very unlikely for them to become pregnant – the average age was 37.2 years (up to age 45) with 5.8 years of infertility and on average 2.1 rounds of failed IVF.

Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) is an approach to reproductive medicine that uses medical and surgical techniques to identify and correct underlying medical problems such as poor ovulation, inadequate hormones or immune factors. It does not bypass reproductive health issues but seeks to normalize or optimize natural reproductive function for women and men. It often uses a cycle or fertility chart to identify and time tests and treatments. The result is not only healthy cycles and normal function, but healthy pregnancies. Unlike IVF that often produces multiple pregnancies or pregnancies that deliver early and with low birth weights, RRM babies are mostly singleton pregnancies with healthy birth weights born at term. This is likely due to correcting factors that lead to difficult pregnancies and to closely monitoring RRM pregnancies and supplementing hormonal deficiencies when identified. The result is healthy babies that may save health care systems considerably; the estimated savings in this study was over $US 280 000.

Ref: Boyle, Phil C., de Groot T, Andralojc KM, Parnell TA. “Healthy Singleton Pregnancies From Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) After Failed IVF.” Frontiers in Medicine 5 (2018): 210. PMC. Web. 9 Sept. 2018.

 

Outcomes From Treatment of Infertility With Natural Procreative Technology in an Irish General Practice

Live Births per 100 Couples at 24 months of Natural Procreative Technology Treatment by Characteristics of Couples Beginning Treatment

Couple Category

Couples (n)

Live Births (n)

Crude Proportion

Adjusted Proportion*

All couples

1072

273

25.5

52.8

Woman’s age (years)

       

    ≤30

86

29

33.7

59.1

    >30–35

412

134

32.5

58.6

    >35–40

423

89

21.0

46.1

    >40

151

21

13.9

50.9

Time spent attempting to conceive (years)

       

    1–3

246

90

36.6

66.0

    >3–6

468

129

27.6

55.4

    >6–9

210

39

18.6

44.9

    >9

118

14

11.9

42.8

Previous live birth

       

    Yes

257

92

35.8

73.9

    No

785

181

23.1

48.5

Previous ART attempts (n)

       

    0

702

216

30.8

61.5

    1

128

29

22.7

41.9

    2

125

18

14.4

34.9

    ≥3

97

10

10.3

19.8

    • * Adjusted by life-table analysis, where withdrawal or continuing treatment at the end of study follow-up are censoring events. Adjusted proportions should be interpreted with caution because of small numbers in subgroups.

 

  • † Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) includes in vitro fertilization (IVF) with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
“We use a multifactorial treatment strategy in harmony with the woman’s fertility cycle which is carefully recorded. Treatments include hormone balancing for sub-optimal ovulation, immune modifying treatments, antibiotics, male factor treatments and surgery – all to varying degrees, depending on what each individual couple requires.”Dr. Phil Boyle