Women suffering from infertility may be able to bypass the costly IVF or In vitro fertilization method to conceive. Research indicates that an age old method is still useful in inducing pregnancies in infertile women and could be an IVF alternative.
The IVF alternative treatment was first used in 1917 and involves flushing fallopian tubes with either water or iodized poppy seed oil.
Flushing Fallopian Tubes: What The 100-Year-Old Fertility Technique Involves
The process is known as hysterosalpingography or HSG and it involves a dye test conducted under X-ray, which is used to examine a woman's fallopian tubes and uterus. This method was devised as an imaging procedure and not as an infertility treatment.
However, it was noted that the pregnancy rate in infertile women who underwent a HSG test, improved drastically in the last century.
To conduct the research and to determine whether HSG led to increased pregnancy in these women, Professor Ben Mol from the Robinson Research Institute at Adelaide University, along with other researchers, set up the H2Oil study. In it, researchers analyzed data from 1,119 infertile women who had their fallopian tubes flushed with either poppy seed oil or water.
Half the women underwent the 100-year-old fertility technique with poppy seed oil, while the other half underwent the HSG procedure with simple water.
Is The IVF Alternative Successful?
Remarkably, within just six months of the procedure, 40 percent of the women who underwent poppy seed oil HSG conceived. Similarly, 29 percent of those who underwent water HSG also conceived in a matter of just six months.
"Considering that 40 percent of women in the oil-based group achieved a successful pregnancy, that's 40 percent of couples who could avoid having to go through the huge costs and emotions associated with IVF treatment," Professor Mol remarked.
Lipidol Ultra-Fluid, the poppy seed oil-based compound used to perform this IVF alternative treatment is easily available across 47 nations in the world.
Why The HSG Procedure Works
The researchers found that flushing fallopian tubes with iodized poppy seed oil or water greatly enhanced a woman's chances of conceiving. However, scientists are unsure why the process worked the way it did and was successful.
The scientists assert that more studies need to be conducted on the subject to figure out the reason behind the success of the procedure. They also reveal that since countless women used the 100-year-old fertility technique over the years without any side effects, it is safe to use and is a viable alternative for infertile couples before they resort to the costlier IVF treatment.
The study's results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday, May 19.