Poppy seed oil based contrast used to perform a common diagnostic procedure on women unable to get pregnant, results in improved fertility rates!
If you’ve tried a year or more to get pregnant without success, you’re not alone. Researchers report nearly 1 in every 6 couples struggle to get pregnant.
Discouraged, you set off on what you hope will be a triumphant journey. Here’s what to expect in the initial phases:
Step 1: evaluation of dad’s semen to ensure adequate sperm count, shape and motility
Step 2: your turn – a complete history and physical examination including labs for thyroid disorders, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis and elevation of a hormone called prolactin. Your doctor will also inquire as to history for gynecological infections, especially sexual transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Step 3: evaluating your fallopian tubes. Without open tubes that serve as a pipeline for sperm to “swim up” and fertilize your eggs, pregnancy isn’t possible. Whether your tubes are blocked or unblocked is evaluated with a procedure called hysterosalpinography (see diagrams below).
Now for the good news!
In a well designed study involving over 1100 women in Denmark, half the women underwent the procedure using water based contrast, while the other half were evaluated with poppy seed oil based contrast (Lipiodol® Ultra-Fluid).
Within 6 months of undergoing the procedure, 39% of women receiving poppy seed oil contrast became pregnant versus 29% of women receiving water based contrast. From a statistical standpoint the results are significant, leading the researchers to conclude poppy seed oil contrast for hysterosalpinography substantially improves fertility rates and may well prove to substantially reduce the need for riskier and more costly infertility treatments.
Lipiodol® Ultra-Fluid is FDA approved and available for use in the United States.
References: Dreyer, K., et al, 2017. Oil-Based or Water-Based contrast for hysterosalpingography in infertile women. N Engl J Med 2017; 376:2043-2052 Online [available at]: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1612337#t=article Accessed April 7, 2019.
World Endometriosis Society, 2017. WCE2017: H2Oil study confirms significant fertility benefit from Lipiodol® Ultra-Fluid. Online [available at]: http://endometriosis.ca/news/article/h2oil-study-confirms-significant-fertility-benefit-from-lipiodol-ultra-fluid/ Accessed April 7, 2017.