School of Medicine study to help infertile women get pregnant

Oct. 21, 2013, 3:00 a.m.

A recent study by the Stanford School of Medicine has discovered a way to give some infertile women a second chance to have children. Through the technique, one woman in the experiment gave birth to a healthy child.

The study, authored by Aaron Hsueh, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, aims to combat Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), a condition that affects one percent of women under 40. Women who suffer from this condition are unable to become pregnant due to the absence of mature follicles in their bodies. The study suggests that a method called in vitro activation (IVA) might be able to reverse this condition by stimulating small residual follicles in the ovaries of women with POI.

Of the 27 women in Japan who have taken part in the experiment so far, two women who previously could not conceive were able to get pregnant. One of these women miscarried, but the other woman gave birth to a baby boy.

While the success rate is too low to make the technique a standard option in the future, the research has generated a huge amount of interest worldwide.

“We want to get to the point where the technology can identify who is likely to benefit and if the results can be duplicated,” said Associate Professor of Obstetric and Gynecology Valerie Baker, one of the researchers who ran the study. “We have to gain more experience so we can optimize its effectiveness.”

Login or create an account