Immune System Breakthrough Gives Hope to IVF

by Staff ,  Herald Sun | 2012-11-09

AUSTRALIAN doctors are prescribing blood-thinning medicines and steroids in a radical new treatment for repeated miscarriages and IVF failures.

Scientists from IVF Australia believe women who suffer recurrent miscarriages or IVF failures could have an immune system that is too healthy, consistently rejecting any invading cells, including the fathers' genes. By weakening a woman's immune system at the time of conception, doctors say they can significantly improve the chances of pregnancy.

Sydney mother Ana Maria Escobar had almost given up all hope of having a child after six failed cycles of IVF. Cuddling seven-week-old son Emilio, she said she could barely believe it when she finally conceived after trying the new technique.

IVF Australia Professor Gavin Sacks said the immune system has "natural killer" cells (NK cells) that protect against invasion and infection. "About 15-25 per cent of women who have repeated miscarriage or IVF failure have high levels of NK cells," he said.

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