Fertility drugs need better monitoring

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An article posted yesterday in the Vancouver Sun spoke about the drugs fertility doctors are giving their patients. The cause for concern may stem from younger and relatively healthy women moving to these drugs as a means of attaining a pregnancy faster. These women, when stimulated with fertility medications (gonadotripic injections), may be at greater risk for conditions that may negatively affect the ovaries ('hyperstimulation' or overproduction of follicles and eggs associated with risks outlined in the Vancouver Sun article).

The clinics I work with monitor the women going through IVF quite closely, and I have never seen anything take a dark turn. That said, I believe there is a deeper issue displaying itself here; impatience. Being impatient, according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is one of the major causes of infertility. It is often a key trait of the women that get diagnosed with 'unexplained infertility'. This is a symptom that would be of primary importance to balance when treatment with Chinese medicine and acupuncture is chosen. Hurrying conception, especially when young, may not be a good choice, for many reasons, not just the ones stated above or in the Vancouver Sun article.

Another group that should be highlighted here is women that have been diagnosed with PCOS, or, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I see much of this in my practice and in my experience is a very treatable condition. These women are at high risk for 'hyperstimulation' with fertility drugs during an IVF. In my ideal world I would work with all of these women for at least 3 months before they embark on an IVF cycle so that we could have a chance to balance the hormonal problems that put them at risk when taking the drugs. Restoring a greater state of health before falling pregnant may also play a role in reducing the incidence of miscarriage in women with PCOS.

IVF is an amazing treatment. It helps get women pregnant that may never have been able to do so otherwise. In this respect, it is a miracle. BUT, to be clear, choosing it just as a way to hasten the journey toward family, especially when young and relatively healthy, is not the choice I would make.

Good luck creating your family.

Vancouver Sun Article:

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