Elemental: IVF ‘Add-On’ Procedures Offer False Hope

Science journalist Kelly Glass interviewed Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos about the IVF add-on paper titled, Do à la carte menus serve infertility patients? The ethics and regulation of in vitro fertility add-ons. Tsigdinos co-authored the piece with international researchers and academics for the December issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility. You’ll find an excerpt below:

When Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos and her husband were trying to conceive with in vitro fertilization (IVF), they were presented with many “add-on” procedures that they were told would increase their chances of a successful pregnancy. “We were relying on the physicians to give us the information and guide us,” she says.

After several years, three IVF cycles, and $50,000 later, Tsigdinos and her husband were still unable to conceive. “Most women don’t talk about it because it’s traumatizing,” says Tsigdinos, author of Silent Sorority.

Couples often pay a premium price in hopes of conceiving a child. A single cycle of IVF can be $12,000. And the costs don’t end there. Couples at fertility clinics are frequently offered pricey “add-on” services touted as ways to increase the chances of IVF success.

However, two new studies published Tuesday in the journal Fertility and Sterility suggest that there’s very little evidence (and in some cases, no evidence) to support the use of these add-ons, including procedures like immune therapies and endometrial scratching. Not only do they not increase a woman’s likelihood of conceiving and giving birth, but some add-on procedures may also even cause harm to women, eggs, and embryos.

Read more here