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Wednesday 20th June 2018

IVF hindered by alternative med

4th July 2007

A research team from Cardiff University have warned that women who try alternative therapies to enhance the chance of falling pregnant were "less likely" to conceive.


Women who tried complementary therapies while having IVF treatments were shown to be 30% less likely to become pregnant than those who had IVF alone.

The researchers said there was a possibility that herbal remedies could have a negative impact on IVF drugs.

The team examined the records of 818 women at the outset of their IVF treatment. 32% of the women went on to try alternative medicine. Almost 50% tried reflexology and more than one third took supplements.

Women who used alternative therapies were shown to be less likely to conceive and had more attempts at IVF. Lead researcher Dr Jacky Boivin said disillusionment with conventional treatment might cause women to try alternative medicine.

She said: "It may be that complementary therapies diminish the effectiveness of medical interventions." She warned that herbal medicines might have an effect on IVF and advised women to wait until they had seen the effect of standard fertility treatments.

Edzard Ernst, professor of complimentary medicine at Exeter University, said: "The most likely explanation is that those women who are prone to stress and have more health problems are more likely to try [alternative medicine]."

He cautioned that the perfomance of alternative therapies in the study could be just "a marker and not the cause of stress and lower success rates."

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