IVF ‘add-on’ is painful and ineffective – In the News

University of Auckland researchers have found that a common fertility procedure does not increase success rates and have recommended that IVF clinics stop offering the procedure.

Endometrial scratching is an additional procedure offered at IVF clinics that is suggested for boosting success rates: scratching the endometrium is thought to make the womb more receptive to an embryo planting, but it can be very painful and adds more cost for customers to cover.

The research, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined over 1300 women in a randomised trial to compare live birth rates in women who had undergone endometrial scratching and those who hadn’t.

Lead author Dr Sarah Lensen, from the University of Auckland’s School of Medicine, said the researchers “knew that most clinics were offering this to their patients and we wanted to find out if it really helped women to conceive from IVF”. They found the live birth rate was the same between groups, leading the team to encourage IVF clinics to stop offering the procedure.

The study was covered in local and international media, including:

NZ Herald: Popular fertility treatment has no benefits, study finds
Stuff: Common IVF add-on is ‘painful and pointless’, researchers say

Reuters: IVF doctors should scratch technique for improving pregnancy rates
ABC: IVF scratching: Are women putting themselves through a painful procedure for nothing?
HealthDay: Uterus ‘scratching’ technique won’t boost fertility treatment success
The Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Snake oil’: the popular IVF therapy that has just been proven useless