Infertile couples have a major opportunity to achieve a successful pregnancy, thanks to new research into a 100-year-old medical technique.
The project compared the benefits of flushing the fallopian tubes with either an oil-based or a water-based solution of poppy seed oil.
The procedure is a dye test of the fallopian tubes conducted under X-ray and was first carried out in 1917.
Professor Ben Mol, from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute, led a team of researchers in Australia and the Netherlands.
“Over the past century, pregnancy rates among infertile women reportedly increased after their tubes had been flushed with either water or oil during this X-ray procedure,” said Professor Mol.
“Our results have been even more exciting than we could have predicted, helping to confirm that an age-old medical technique still has an important place in modern medicine,” he said
Almost 40 per cent of infertile women in the oil group and 29 per cent of infertile women in the water group achieved successful pregnancies within six months of the technique being performed.
“The rates of successful pregnancy were significantly higher in the oil-based group, and after only one treatment. This is an important outcome for women who would have had no other course of action other than to seek IVF treatment. It offers new hope to infertile couples,” Professor Mol said.
He says further research is needed to understand the mechanisms behind the team’s findings.
“It was long believed that testing a woman’s fallopian tubes could have fertility benefits through ‘flushing out’ the kind of debris that hinders fertility,” Professor Mol said.
“The reality is, we still don’t really understand why there is a benefit, only that there is a benefit from this technique, in particular for women who don’t present with any other treatable fertility symptoms.”
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