Some interesting articles relating to infertility recently. Here's a digest:
1. Potential for a new kind of pain relief - aromatase inhibitors (those currently used in treating breast cancer) have been shown to be very effective for relief from endometriosis-related pain.
2. PGS does not improve pregnancy rates, or reduce miscarriage rates. The British Fertility Society strongly recommends it is not offered to women unless as part of a defined clinical trial. I think we kinda knew this one - I've certainly seen comments to this effect, but important if your doctor is currently suggesting it.
3. Australian scientists are engaged in a long range study to look at what genes are expressed in blastocysts, and how these vary between blastocysts which turn into live take-home babies, and blastocysts which fail to implant or to turn into embryos which survive through the pregnancy. Very interesting story, which has already identified (no shit Sherlock) that genes involved in cell adhesion, cell communication, and response to stimuli, are all involved. They've also found that up to 20 cells can be removed from the cell lining layer of a blastocyst with no adverse effects. They are aiming to promote single embryo transfer - but arguing that for this to be widely accepted, couples need to have greater faith that SET is likely to work. What I don't quite get is how to transfer this to the clinic setting, as you would presumably have to do the gene amplification within a day so that you could put the blasts back before they start trying to implant. Or perhaps they plan to work backwards so that you could take a cell from a day 3 embryo and test it against their findings.
4. In the realm of "Thalia feels very smug," a finding that many doctors are moving away from ever recommending IUI, and going straight to IVF, which in the long run is often cheaper and less traumatic for couples as it's more likely to work. I've always thought IUI is a waste of time, given how little it improves your chances over trying alone, even with the addition of clomid and/or injectibles. It's also more likely to lead to higher order multiples in the hands of over-eager docs in the US, so a good thing if it's on the decline. Old-fashioned technology.
5. Data that says that IVM may not be the way to go in many instances. Eggs matured in the petri dish have a different pattern of development than those matured in vivo. Which also means that labs should be working to develop culture media that better replicate the ovarian environment.
6. Feed your male partner folic acid. It reduces the level of DNA abnormalities in sperm.