Ultrasound predicts IVF outcome
Progress Educational Trust19 March 2007
A Dutch study has shown that ultrasound can be used to predict whether IVF is likely to be successful for a woman, by counting the number of egg-producing follicles in her ovaries.
Dr Janet Kwee, from Vrije University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, conducted the study that examined 110 women who were experiencing fertility problems, by carrying out ultrasound scans on their ovaries. The study - published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology - found that the more follicles a woman has, the more eggs she is likely to produce as a result of fertility treatment, and the more likely it is that IVF will be successful.
Fertility medication aids the development of eggs, which can then be collected for fertilisation. Having a higher number of follicles means that a higher number of eggs can be collected. Kwee's study found that ultrasound tests positively identified the women who later went on to successfully conceive 82 per cent of the time.
Dr Kwee believes that the test could be used before fertility treatment begins, so that patients know their chances of success before embarking on costly treatment, and so that doctors can determine the level of hormones that should be used to stimulate the patient's ovaries.
The outcome of the study means that ultrasound could be employed in the place of the expensive and time consuming endocrine test, and it also had the advantage of fewer side effects. Kwee said that the ultrasound test was 'the only test able to reliably predict low and high responders'. However, Philip Patton at the Oregon Health and Science University Fertility Program in Portland, warned that even if the ultrasound test found that a women had a low chance of success with IVF, it did not mean that it was impossible. He said that both tests were helpful, but neither was right 100 per cent of the time. He warned, 'You have to be careful with that diagnosis because it is devastating'.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.