Dr. Nicholas Christoforidis from Embryolab Fertility Clinic explains
“I want to do all the tests that can be done to find the reason why I am not getting pregnant”. This is a request we hear so often in our clinic. However, having all the tests available really isn’t the answer.
So how do we choose which tests will help us find an answer, and how do we uncover the cause of the infertility problem?
The choice of tests in the investigation of infertility is based on specific criteria, always aiming at the least possible burden for a woman, with the greatest possible usefulness. Initially, a test should be requested when the benefit of the result will be clear in order to answer existing questions and help plan the treatment required. The more and clearer the information obtained, the more targeted and effective the treatment.
Tests, however, that are not demonstrably useful and evidence-based are not only financially burdensome, they can also create false impressions and lead to interventions that are not in the woman’s best interest. In general, let us not forget that the more the number of tests without clear and proven benefit increases, the more a woman is burdened psychologically.
The same logic applies to the choice of a fertility treatment
As the chances of success of infertility treatments have certain limits, especially in the field of assisted reproduction, it is reasonable and expected for a woman to want to discuss and pursue what more she can do in order to succeed in her attempt to become pregnant. Today, we have a large number of studies evaluating the various infertility treatments and helping us to choose, on the basis of specific criteria, which ones to apply in each case. Thus, while each treatment has a certain probability of success, this is not the only criterion for its selection: just as important, if not more so, is its safety, both for the woman undergoing treatment and for the embryo and the pregnancy resulting from this treatment.
Further important parameters in choosing an infertility treatment are the possible side effects that may occur, depending on each treatment we apply, as well as the degree of intervention they require.
Ideal treatments are considered those that lead to pregnancy in the shortest possible time, with the least possible intervention and the fewest side effects
Often, both at the level of tests and treatments, efficacy and benefit data are scarce, from a small number of studies, awaiting confirmation from larger studies and in different populations. However, it is important to remember that any choice must start with the safety of the woman, and the least possible burden on her psychology, especially when the benefit of many of our interventions is not clear in addressing the problem.
The design and selection of infertility tests and treatments is constantly evolving in the light of the latest data and modern developments in the field of reproductive medicine and assisted reproduction. Experts in the field can and should guide couples by encouraging their participation in decision making, especially when the data are scarce and unclear.
*Dr Nicholas Christoforidis is a Consultant Obstetrician-Gynaecologist, dedicated in Assisted Reproduction, specializing in the investigation and treatment of infertility.
His scientific interest is particularly focused on the application of modern pharmaceutical protocols in assisted reproductive therapy, the application of evidence based medicine, as well as fertility preservation in oncology patients.
He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FRCOG), the European Society for Assisted Reproduction (ESHRE) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
Dr. Nicholas Christoforidis is Scientific and Clinical Director of Embryolab Fertility Clinic, in Thessaloniki Greece, since 2004.
In 2021, he founded www. fertilitymatters.eu, a place of stories, scientific views, inspirational opinions and events about human Fertility Matters in the form of articles and podcasts.
What characterizes him is his insistence on Quality, Innovation and Transparency! Every day he works to apply the most appropriate and safe Assisted Reproduction techniques and treatments to the couples who trust us!
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