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A new medical hope for infertile women

Many infertile women reported getting pregnant after undergoing hysterosalpingography. PHOTO | FILE
Many infertile women reported getting pregnant after undergoing hysterosalpingography. PHOTO | FILE 

Women can now increases chances of getting pregnant through a new procedure involving correcting abnormalities or unblocking fallopian tubes without having to go through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), according to new research.

The medical test, technically known as hysterosalpingography (HCG), is reported to increase chances of pregnancy in infertile women.

It involves filling woman’s fallopian tubes with oil and water-based solution to determine presence and location of any blockage with a view to unblocking it.

According to a study done in the Netherlands and Australia, more infertile women reported getting pregnant after undergoing the medical procedure.

The HSG test is an x-ray that is done to show whether the fallopian tubes are blocked or whether the uterus is blocked. It is done in the radiology department/ facility. It uses a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material.

This test helps doctors diagnose all medical conditions.

The procedure is also used in cases of miscarriages resulting from abnormalities within the uterus and to determine the presence and severity of tumour masses and uterine fibroids.

Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. It affects one of every six couples who are trying to get pregnant.
The women who were enrolled for the study were given oil-based or water-soluble contrast that influences this potential therapeutic effect.

The study done was first published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study titled Oil-Based or Water-Based Contrast for Hysterosalpingography (HSG) in Infertile women randomised 27 hospitals in the Netherlands in the trial through a multicentre process — involving several hospitals, clinics, or research institutions.

The infertile women who were undergoing the medical procedure were randomly assigned with the use of oil-based or water-based contrast.

Dr Kim Dreyer, one of the researchers in the study said that subsequently, couples received expectant management or the women underwent intrauterine insemination.

“The primary outcome was ongoing pregnancy within six months after randomisation and medical procedure was done. Outcomes were analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle,” said Dr Dreyer.

Dr Aggrey Akula, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Kisumu, said the process could be a saviour to women but not in all categories.
He said it’s not only blockage of fallopian and uterus that causes infertility but several factors.

“Apart from fallopian tubes and uterus, we have the aspect of age. Production of eggs reduces as women age,” said Dr Akula.

He said the medical process cannot work in men in circumstances where they are victims. He recommends it as a viable treatment for couples to be done before seeking the more expensive in-vitro fertilisation.

He said though many infertile women cannot afford some medical procedures because they are expensive, the new procedure will save many from the pain and stigma that they have to live with in the society.

In the study, a total of 1119 women were randomly assigned to hysterosalpingography with 557 women assigned oil contrast (a solution) or 562 women assigned water contrast.

Among these 1,119 women, 557 were randomly assigned hysterosalpingography with the use of oil contrast and 562 with water contrast.

Six months after randomisation, 1108 of 1119 women were pregnant recording 99 per cent outcome - 554 from each group (Oil and water) had primary pregnancy outcome.

Out of the 554 women who were in the oil group, 220 (40 per cent) and 161 of 562 women in the water group (29 per cemt) had an ongoing pregnancy and 214 (39 per cent) of 554 women in the oil group and 155 (28 per cent) of 552 women in the water group had live births.

A total of 71 women (38 women in the oil group and 33 in the water group) did not meet the inclusion criteria after assignment, mostly because of a period of infertility of slightly less than one year.