Many women who suffer from 'unexplained infertility' may be helped to conceive by drugs that suppress their immune systems. A number of women who have undergone three unsuccessful cycles of IVF, or who have had repeated miscarriages, have been found to have very active immune systems.Professor Alan Beer, of the University of Chicago Medical School, has showed that about 70 per cent of otherwise healthy women undergoing repeated fertility treatment have an overactive immune system which 'attacked' the newly implanted embryo and, in many cases, destroyed it.
In a small-scale study, Professor Beer recruited 100 women who had suffered repeated IVF failures and gave them drugs used to treat auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. The treatment resulted in a birth rate three to four times higher than for normal IVF treatments. The technique will need to undergo large scale trials, but it is hoped that the drugs involved might be widely available for the treatment within two years.
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Drug which suppresses immune system boosts chances of IVF success