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Australian First, IVF Study Hopes to Boost Fertility Rates For Older Mums

Women between the ages of 40 and 44 who have tried and failed to conceive may benefit from the addition of a growth hormone to traditional IVF therapy, according to one of Australia’s leading fertility experts, Dr David Knight.


Women between the ages of 40 and 44 who have tried and failed to conceive may benefit from the addition of a growth hormone to traditional IVF therapy, according to one of Australia’s leading fertility experts, Dr David Knight

IVF clinics in Sydney are now calling for what doctors describe as “Australia’s most reproductively challenged women” to take part in a groundbreaking fertility trial using growth hormone, the first of its kind to be conducted in Australia. 

The trial, which will be led by reproductive specialist, Dr David Knight, Medical Director at Demeter Fertility, will measure the effect of adding a recombinant Human Growth Hormone (rHGH) to traditional IVF therapy in women aged 40-44 years over a 10 week period.


“Fertility rates decline significantly with age and by the time a woman reaches 40 her chances of conceiving naturally in one cycle has fallen to about 5 per cent,” Dr Knight said. “Even with IVF therapy a woman in her early forties still has less than a 10 per cent chance of falling pregnant each cycle.”


According to Dr Knight, nearly 27 per cent of IVF treatments performed in Australia and New Zealand involve women over the age of 40.

A previous study overseas has shown that the addition of a growth hormone to traditional IVF can result in a fivefold increase in successful pregnancies and a lower rate of miscarriage amongst older women. “We believe there is potential for pregnancy and live birth rates to be greatly improved by adding the growth hormone to current IVF therapy” said Dr Knight. In-vitro fertilization involves the fertilization of several eggs outside of the body in the hope that one will become a viable embryo.
 
“As a woman ages, the number of suitable eggs available for this therapy diminishes and that’s why this new method is so important. We believe that by using a growth hormone we can enhance the strength and growth rate of a single egg and potentially improve the chance of fertilization,” concluded Dr Knight.

Demeter Fertility is seeking 120 couples prepared to take part. All participants will be required to undergo a preliminary health check and female participants will need to be between 40 and 44 years of age. 


Demeter Fertility has received Ethics Committee approval according to the National Statement and the trial will be conducted following Good Clinical Practice Guidelines. ACL Statistics has been engaged to manage the trial. Once completed the study results will be submitted to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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