By John-Henry Westen

LONDON, August 7, 2008 ( – Long established medical interventions to help couples with infertility problems do not seem to improve fertility, according to a study published in the upcoming edition of the British Medical Journal, which can be found on its online service beginning yesterday. Current medical practice and guidelines should be reviewed in the light of this evidence, say the authors.

One in seven couples in the UK experience infertility. Unexplained infertility affects a quarter of these couples and common interventions to help them have been used for many years in line with fertility guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

A team of researchers led by the University of Aberdeen compared the effectiveness of two specific interventions with expectant management (no treatment).

They recruited 580 women who had experienced unexplained infertility for more than two years from four teaching hospitals and a district general hospital in Scotland. The women were randomised into three groups – one group of women were encouraged to try naturally for a pregnancy and had no medical interventions; one took oral clomifene citrate (CC) which is believed to correct subtle ovulatory dysfunction; and the other had unstimulated intra-uterine insemination (IUI) of sperm. Overall, 101 women became pregnant and had a live birth during the course of the study.

The researchers found that women who had no interventions had a live birth rate of 17%, the group taking oral CC had a birth rate of 14%, and the group having unstimulated IUI had a birth rate of 23%. The researchers pointed out that to have a statistically meaningful and significant improvement in the live birth rate, the difference in live births between unstimulated IUI and no intervention would have to be much higher than the 6% reported in this trial.

Side effects for women, including abdominal pain, bloating, hot flushes, nausea and headaches were highest in women taking oral CC, affecting 100% of women.

Interestingly, women on active treatments (CC and IUI) were reassured by the process of treatment while women who had no interventions were less satisfied, despite it being equally effective.

The researchers conclude: “These interventions, which have been in use for many years, are unlikely to be more effective than no treatment. These results challenge current practice, as endorsed by a national guideline in the UK.”

In light of the news, medical professionals who work to combat infertility with NaProTECHNOLOGY (long-known as Natural Family Planning) may have an opportunity to showcase the method’s stellar success. When used to treat infertility alone, NaProTechnology has a success rate of 76% in assisting couples to achieve pregnancy – remarkably superior to the 10-15% success rate of in vitro fertilization, and without the enormous financial cost and adverse emotional and other psychological effects of in vitro fertilization.

NPT was developed from thirty years of scientific research in the study of the normal and abnormal states of the menstrual and fertility cycles by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and the National Center for Women’s Health in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Hilgers is currently a senior medical consultant in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive medicine and surgery at the Pope Paul VI Institute and a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine.

According to Dr. John B. Shea, medical consultant for, NPT has not been accepted by the majority of the medical profession because “in reference to female infertility, NPT competes against a well financed option, in vitro fertilization [IVF], that is already deeply entrenched in the marketplace and in political circles.”