What you need to know about IVF ‘add-ons’

Image of sperm being inserted into an egg via IVF

Fertility specialists are constantly looking for ways to improve your chance of getting pregnant through IVF or other assisted reproductive techniques (ART) to have a baby. In the last few years a number of so called ‘add-ons’, or ‘adjuvant’ therapies, have been offered by IVF clinics. They are procedures or medications which are added to IVF treatment to try to improve your chance of success. Examples include endometrial scratching, time lapse imaging of embryos, and the prescription of steroids, testosterone and growth hormones.

But many of these ‘add-ons’ are experimental or have not been properly tested, so it’s not known if they actually make a difference to your chance of having a baby. They may also cause negative side effects and cost you more money with no Medicare refund available. VARTA is currently looking at what the research says about the benefits and possible risks of the many ‘add-ons’ offered by IVF clinics and will publish information about each on the VARTA website as it becomes available. 

In the meantime, make sure you ask your doctor questions about the pros and cons of any added treatment offered to you.  Here are five questions you can ask your doctor to help you decide if an ‘add-on’ is right for you:

Source: www.choosingwisely.org.au

You can also go to the UK-based Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) website which has helpful information about what is known about some of the ‘add-ons’. https://www.hfea.gov.uk/treatments/explore-all-treatments/treatment-add-ons/