A century-old technique can help infertile couples get pregnant without the need for expensive IVF treatments, new research has found.
Australian obstetrician and researcher Professor Ben Mol has found 40 percent of infertile women get pregnant after their fallopian tubes are flushed out with iodised poppy seed oil, compared with 29 percent of those who had their tubes flushed through with water.
By comparison, the pregnancy rate among those receiving IVF treatment in 2014 was just 36.3 percent across all ages (rising to 43.7 percent among the under 35s), according to government statistics.
The oil procedure is non-invasive and can be performed in as little as 30 minutes.
The research was published in The New England Journal of Medicine and is based on a trial of 1,100 women in the Netherlands.
Mol thinks that more women should have their tubes checked using the oil procedure before starting IVF. “If you know your infertility is due to poor semen quality or no ovulation then this is not going to help, but if there’s any other cause this might be beneficial,” he says. “It’s really cheap compared with IVF.”
Since beginning his study, Mol discovered that he was probably conceived because his mother had her fallopian tubes investigated this way. His parents had been trying for a baby for eight years beforehand. “It’s highly likely my brother and I are the result of this.”