Wellness company Get A Drip has taken its 'fertility IV' off the market after the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said there was no evidence its treatment could improve fertility.
'There is no evidence that an IV drip of any combination of vitamins can improve a woman's fertility,' Katherine O'Brien, associate director of communications and campaigns of the BPAS, told BBC News.
Get A Drip defended the nutritional benefits of its products and said it made no claims of alleviating medical conditions but apologised for the insensitivity of its 'fertility' product and promptly withdrew it from sale.
The one-off vitamin intravenous infusion, offered at £250, claims to increase energy levels and improve the immune system. However, the only medically recommended supplements for women trying to conceive a child are folic acid and Vitamin D which, in contrast, cost significantly less and can easily be taken orally.
BPAS first challenged the company on Twitter, asking them to 'explain the clinically proven benefits' of their fertility drip. They responded, saying: 'Get A Drip’s Fertility Drip includes a range of nutrients such as zinc, B complex, and selenium, that when supported with a healthy, balanced lifestyle, can help support normal fertility.' Such claims have led medical experts and the BPAS to accuse the company of exploiting vulnerable women by offering products that have no evidence of improving fertility.
O'Brien said: 'In promising hope to women at a very desperate time, we are concerned that, aside from providing no real benefit, these drips may be causing real damage to women's emotional wellbeing.'
The IV drip comes as another fertility 'add-on' therapy being offered to women without proven evidence. Earlier this year the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority released a statement on adjunct treatment in IVF (see BioNews 985) and published a consensus advising IVF clinics not to charge patients for add-on treatments not proven by clinical trials (see BioNews 983).
Many welcomed the decision to withdraw the product and hope regulatory bodies will continue to monitor private companies offering fertility 'add-ons' going forward to ensure women's fertility fears are not exploited.
A spokeswoman for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said: 'IV vitamin therapies that made medical claims needed to be licensed and tested for "safety, quality and efficacy", as well as complying with legislation on advertising.'