Research has found that two of the most common infertility therapies may be a waste of time.
|Two common infertility therapies have been branded "worthless" by a new study.
They may also cause unpleasant side-effects, the research by the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Aberdeen found.
The treatments in question are clomifene citrate, a drug which is supposed to correct ovary dysfunction, and intra-uterine insemination (IUI), where a semen sample is delivered straight into the womb.
Both are popular because they are recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness (Nice) and are cheaper and less invasive than IVF, but neither has been tested in a major trial before now.
"A number of treatments have crept into fertility clinics over the years and are now part of our usual repertoire, but as with many things in infertility, most of these have not been properly evaluated," Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya, who led the study, was quoted as saying in the Guardian.
"Almost all couples with unexplained infertility will have one or both of these treatments, but neither of them is significantly more effective than telling the couple to just go home and get on with it, which is a lot cheaper and more fun."
The research involved 600 women who had experienced unexplained infertility for over two years being divided into three groups - one tried for a baby without medical help, one took clomifene citrate and another had IUI.
While the IUI group had the highest birth-rate, with the clomifene citrate group coming last, there was not a significant difference and many in the clomifene group suffered side-effects.
One in seven couples have difficulty conceiving, and in a quarter of cases this is unexplained.