Could kisspeptin stop IVF ovarian hyperstimulation?
“Dozen babies born using ‘safer’ IVF treatment,” reads headline in The Independent.
This headline was based on a new study providing proof of concept that the natural hormone kisspeptin-54 could be used to stimulate egg maturation in women requiring in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
The modified IVF treatment on trial, which is hoped to be safer than standard IVF, led to 12 healthy babies being born from 53 women undergoing a single IVF treatment.
Kisspeptin research: a six-minute summary
The researchers at Imperial College London have published a helpful video explaining their kisspeptin research and its implications
One of the main hopes is that using kisspeptin-54 could lead to a safer version of IVF by reducing the need to use human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which has a small risk of causing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
This can be potentially fatal. However, this study was much too small to prove kisspeptin-54 was safer. Much larger trials are required to prove this, and are the logical next step for this early stage research.
The study looked mainly at different doses of kisspeptin-54, but did not compare it with current IVF treatment.
It will be vital for future clinical trials to include a control group, so that the effectiveness and safety of the new IVF treatment can be directly compared to the existing treatment, to see which is better overall
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