Date Published: 18 October 2006
Research successfully helps NZ women conceive
Researchers at The University of Auckland are helping women with polycystic ovaries to conceive children.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a disease where eggs do not fully mature and detach from the ovaries, resulting in the formation of fluid filled cysts. Women with PCOS can find it difficult to conceive, as eggs are not released into the fallopian tubes ready to be fertilised. It is estimated that 5 to 10% of women have PCOS.
The study compares two commonly prescribed treatments for infertility due to PCOS, metformin, a common diabetes medication, and the fertility drug clomiphene. Women on the trial are prescribed one or both of the drugs, to assess the most effective form of treatment.
Of the 148 women enrolled on the trial so far, 46 have become pregnant and 25 babies have been born, including one set of twins.
“The study has shown a high level of success so far, with pregnancy rates being comparative to the general population,”said Associate Professor Neil Johnson of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.
“The cause of PCOS is unknown, but these drugs are thought to give women with the condition the best chance of conceiving. Our study is looking at the effectiveness of the drugs individually and combined, so that women with PCOS are given the best possible chance to become mothers.?
“We've had 25 babies so far, the oldest turning 2 in October and the latest only a few weeks old,”said Jan Falkiner, research nurse for the study.
“It's incredibly rewarding to help make these women's dreams come true, and we hope that by the end of the study we'll have many more baby pictures decorating the wall.?
Symptoms of PCOS include difficulty losing weight, acne, increased hair on the face, chest or back, and irregular or no periods. PCOS can also cause an imbalance in hormone production, particularly the male hormone testosterone and insulin, which regulates glucose.
The study is linked to the Nurture Foundation, a charity that raises funds for reproductive research at The University of Auckland.
Source: Auckland University (New Zealand).