Aspirin For Fertility
When you think of aspirin, you probably associate it with fever or headache relief, or for use as a mild anti-inflammatory. However, research shows that aspirin could play an important role in some women who are struggling with infertility. Aspirin is now being offered in conjuction with other medications to help increase the rate of pregnancy in women receiving certain fertility treatments. If you are having trouble conceiving, speak with your reproductive endocrinologist about aspirin therapy for fertility.
What is Aspirin?
Aspirin has been around for just over 100 years. More than 80 billion aspirin tablets are sold every year, typically to help solve minor aches and pains like headaches and muscle strains. Aspirin is actually created from a chemical called acetylsalicylic acid. This chemical works to reduce pain and inflammation by inhibiting the action of Cox-2 enzymes in your body. Cox-2 enzymes produces prostaglandins, special hormones that cause pain. By preventing these Cox-2 enzymes from producing prostaglandins, aspirin can help to relieve your pain.
Aspirin and Infertility
Recently, it has been discovered that aspirin seems to help women experiencing certain types of infertility. In particular, it appears to increase the chances of pregnancy in women who have experienced recurrent spontaneous abortions, or miscarriages.
Antiphospholipid Antibodies and Aspirin
Some women who experience recurrent sponataneous abortions have extremely high levels of antiphospholipid antibodies. These antiphospholipid antibodies can cause your blood to become much thicker than usual, as they cause blood platelets to stick together. This can dramatically increase your risk for developing problematic, or even fatal, blood clots. Many women with increased antiphospholipid antibodies tend to experience multiple miscarriages because blood clots can develop around the placenta, depriving the baby of vital oxygen and nutrients.
How Does Aspirin Help?
Aspirin appears to help thin out the blood in women who are experiencing these problematic blood clots. When given in low doses, aspirin makes your blood platelets less sticky, allowing blood to travel more easily through the placenta to your baby. Asprin is typically given along with Heparin, an anticoagulant medication.
Recently, a number of different studies have been performed on the use of aspirin to increase fertility. Women who had experienced multiple miscarriages and who were undergoing IVF treatment were given low doses of aspirin daily. Subsequent pregnancy rates were then compared to pregnancy rates produced by women who received no aspirin therapy. Surpisingly, more than 45% of those women taking aspirin during treatment became pregnant, while only 28% of those women not taking aspirin were able to conceive.
Recent aspirin studies also show that aspirin may be helpful in increasing pregnancy rates in all women. Aspirin appears to increase the activity of the ovaries, allowing them to release multiple eggs during ovulation. It also appears to increase blood flow to the uterus, allowing for a thicker and healthier uterine lining.
How is Aspirin Taken?
Aspirin therapy is taken orally in small daily doses. Also known as baby aspirin, low dose aspirin therapy contains between 78 and 81 milligrams of acetylsalicylic acid. If you are taking aspirin for infertility you should be under the direct supervision of a licensed health care provider.
Aspirin Side Effects
Aspirin therapy is still being tested for side effects and is currently only available when taken in combination with Heparin. Long-term use of aspirin is not recommended, because it may actually interfere with fertility. Long-term aspirin use appears to prevent a woman's eggs from being released from their follicles, inhibiting ovulation. Aspirin therapy should not be taken by women who are:
- allergic to aspirin
- experiencing gastric inflammation or bleeding