News from Fertility and Sterility: NIH funded study shows 92% of couples with unexplained infertility who initiated treatments ultimately had a child
Oct 13, 2021
Origin: ASRM Bulletin
Over 60% of couples were able to have at least one further child without additional medical treatment.Washington DC – In a new study tracking hundreds of couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility, only 6.6% did not have a child over the course of their reproductive lifetime, and 64% were able to have at least one further child without additional medical treatment.
This study is a long-term follow up to the NIH-supported Fast Track and Standard Treatment Trial (FASTT) which demonstrated that intra-uterine insemination with FSH was of no added value in the treatment of couples with unexplained infertility. In this follow-up study, researchers obtained data from 286 (57%) of the original 503 couples in FASTT, the average age at follow up of the female partner being 49 years. Of the patients in the follow-up study, most (79%) continued to try to conceive following FASTT. One hundred eight-two of those (81%) achieved at least one live birth. The majority of couples who tried to conceive spontaneously, rather than medically assisted, were successful (64%). Finally, the study showed that most patients (67%) were satisfied with their ultimate family size. Larger family size was associated with improved satisfaction, and it mattered very little how that family size was achieved.
The authors conclude, “The results of this study are very positive for patients. Those with unexplained infertility are highly likely to achieve a live birth from initial treatment and at least one additional live birth subsequently, many of which are without treatment”. They stress that “moving to treatment sooner allows for a larger family”
Hugh Taylor MD, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine said, “This is a very important and encouraging study. Too often patients are reluctant to seek treatment, and insurance companies reluctant to cover infertility treatments due to a misguided and antiquated view that the treatments often don’t work. This study shows that the vast majority of infertility patients can indeed use medical treatment to achieve their family building goals.”