Can Soy Bean Oil Really Make a Difference?
Why Does IVF Sometimes Fail?
Infertility, regardless whether it is female or male, takes a huge toll on a couple. IVF can provide a wonderful opportunity for a couple to realize their dream of parenthood, although it can be a big ticket item with no guarantees. Many women have multiple rounds of IVF without success. Now, with the use of a substance based in the lowly soy bean, women may have a better chance than ever to become pregnant through IVF.
One of the reasons for IVF failure is a deficiency in the immune system that causes the body to reject and destroy a newly implanted embryo. At The Care Fertility Clinic in Nottingham, England, the use of Intralipid given to women a week before their IVF procedure by way of an IV drip, has shown encouraging results.
How Can Soy Bean Oil Help?
In a study of 100 women of the average age of 37 years who had had repeated IVF failures, 50 were given intravenous infusions of Intralipid and 46 were not given the soy oil extract. The results indicated that half of those given Intralipid conceived while only nine percent of those who did not receive the infusion conceived. Additionally, there were only two miscarriages in the group treated with Intralipid while seven occurred in the second group. At the end of the study, 46 percent of women who received Intralipid gave birth as compared to only four from the group that did not receive it.
Invented by Professor Arvid Wretlind of Sweden in 1962, Intralipid (brand name) was the first safe fat emulsion created for human use. It was not approved in the United States until 1972, however, since that time it has been used as a nutritional component to feed patients intravenously when they are unable to eat as a result of surgery trauma or serious injury. It is an emulsion of soy bean oil, egg phospholipids and glycerin. Intralipid provides essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA) an omega-6 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid.
When used in connection with IVF treatments, Intralipid stimulates the immune system to remove "danger signals" that can lead to pregnancy loss. It is not a blood product and it is relatively inexpensive - a factor that is quite attractive when considering how expensive IVF treatments can be.
How the Embryo and Uterus Communicate
Immunological causes of implantation failure in IVF include a problem with the embryo or a problem with the uterus. The uterus needs to tolerate the implanting embryo, which is always different from the uterus itself. There is continuous communication at a cellular level between the embryo and the maternal system that occur through cytokines, proteins that are secreted by the cells within the uterine lining. If the immune cells do not send the right signals via the cytokines to the embryo or if the signals from the embryo are not responded to by the cells, then implantation and adhesion problems occur.
The More Expensive Route
Traditionally these problems are treated by immunotherapy, such as intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). IVIg has been shown to benefit women undergoing IVF who are able to produce good embryos. Given intravenously at least six to seven days prior to embryo transfer it is sometimes given every three to four weeks until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. The success rate for women with a history of previous implantation failure who are treated with IVIg is 50 percent with the live birth rate at 70 percent. The costs of IVIg treatments range from $2,000 to $3,000 per infusion. A woman who needs IVIg infusions weekly for the first trimester of pregnancy can be looking at a very hefty bill.