May 25, 2024

Desperate” couples offered unproven IVF treatment

Unscrupulous fertility clinics are offering women unproven and potentially risky tests and treatments based on the theory that natural killer cells” in the womb may be responsible for recurrent miscarriages. According to a study in the British Medical Journal, many women who have high levels of these cells are being offered powerful treatments, such as steroids or immune-suppressant drugs, to reduce them. But at this stage, say the authors, there is no evidence to justify the tests and it is wrong to offer risky treatments which have not been licensed for use in reproductive medicine.

Dr Mark Hamilton, of the British Fertility Society, agreed with the thrust of the article. “The reproductive medicine community is acutely aware of how desperate couples either with a history of infertility or recurrent miscarriage are to have a baby… Great care has to be taken not to take advantage of couples merely because they are desperate and offer treatment which is sometimes expensive and often intrusive without adequate justification.”