15 August 2011
ByAppeared in BioNews 620
There is insufficient evidence to suggest that taking aspirin during IVF increases a woman's chances of conceiving, according to the latest Cochrane Systematic Review.
Researchers gathered data from 13 independent trials and compared the effect of aspirin versus placebo on live birth, pregnancy and miscarriage rates in women undergoing IVF. They did not find evidence that any of the three rates were altered among women taking aspirin.
The use of aspirin during IVF is a controversial practice, with both benefits and risks associated with it. It is thought that the drug may improve the chances of conceiving by increasing blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. However, studies looking at the efficacy of aspirin on improving IVF outcome have produced mixed results, and there are concerns that its usage may increase the risk of miscarriage.
'Couples undergoing IVF often feel so desperate that they are prepared to try anything that may improve their chances of conceiving', said lead researcher Dr Charalambos Siristatidis of the University of Athens, Greece. 'But given the current evidence, there is still no basis to recommend that women take aspirin to help them become pregnant'.
The 13 eligible trials provided information on 2,653 women undertaking IVF, but researchers found that the majority of the trials did not publish live birth or miscarriage rates – the most useful measures of efficacy and safety respectively – and instead reported the less informative pregnancy rate. The Cochrane review therefore concluded that current trial data is insufficient, and that larger trials are needed.
'It was disappointing to see that so few of the studies reported live birth rate as this is ultimately the outcome all couples undergoing IVF are interested in', said Dr Siristatidis. 'The lack of information on miscarriage rate is also concerning given previous studies that have linked higher doses of aspirin to miscarriage'.
The review, an update of a 2007 publication, is available online in the Cochrane Library.