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Infertile Couples Should 'Keep Trying' Naturally

Couples having difficulty conceiving should continue trying for a baby the natural way, say fertility experts. //

Pieternel Steures and colleagues at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam studied couples with unexplained fertility problems and found that a common fertility technique was no more effective than 'watch and wait' for some couples, reported the online edition of BBC News.

Furthermore, the technique called controlled ovarian hyper-stimulation, carries serious health risks, said the Dutch researchers.

The researchers focused on about 253 couples with unexplained fertility problems who were estimated to have a 30-40 percent chance of conceiving spontaneously within 12 months.

The estimations were based on the woman's age, how long the couple had been experiencing sub- fertility and the results of lab tests, including sperm analysis.

Half were randomly assigned to the fertility treatment for six months and the other half were asked to carry on trying to conceive naturally for the same time period.

The fertility treatment, intra-uterine insemination (IUI) with controlled ovarian hyper stimulation, involved using drugs to make the woman's ovaries produce eggs and inserting her partner's sperm directly into her womb.

With the fertility treatment, 33 percent women conceived and 23 percent had ongoing pregnancies. Similarly, in the group that carried on trying to conceive naturally, 32 percent women conceived and 27 percent had ongoing pregnancies.

Therefore, in terms of successful pregnancies, the fertility treatment added no benefit. Given the serious health risks associated with this form of assisted reproduction, expectant management would be a better option for these couples, said the experts.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence, London, suggests IUI treatment after three years of unexplained infertility.

It also recommends th at people who are concerned about their fertility should be informed that sexual intercourse every two to three days optimises the chance of pregnancy.

According to experts at the institute, about 84 percent of couples conceive within a year with regular intercourse and no contraception. Of those who do not conceive in the first year, about half will do so in the second year.


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