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Feminist News


August-02-99

Injection Treatment Doesn’t Prevent Miscarriages

A study conducted by Carole Ober of the University of Chicago found that a fertility treatment to prevent miscarriage does not work.

The treatment -- which entails injecting a woman with her partner’s white blood cells -- is believed to fail for similar reasons that an organ transplant fails. Under normal circumstances, a woman produces antibodies that "prevent their system from rejecting a fetus in pregnancy." If that antibody is not formed, a miscarriage is likely to occur.

The study followed 171 women who had experienced three of more miscarriages. Eighty-six received the fertility treatment, and 85 were given a placebo injection. Researchers found that 31 of 68 women given the fertility injection became pregnant within the next year and had a 46% success rate. This compares to a 65% success rate for the 63 women who became pregnant after receiving the placebo.

Ober, who is a professor of human genetics and obstetrics and gynecology, noted that "Women with recurring miscarriages should not take this as bad news that there is not a treatment for them. In many of these couples, there is really nothing wrong with them."

However, proponents of this fertility treatment argue that there is a good success rate for women who are given the injections. A professor at the Imperial College of Medicine in London, James Mowbray, said, "It does work. I’ve seen 5,000 couples with repeated miscarriages that have had a very high success rate and very low abnormality rate."

Media Resources: Nando Times and AP - July 29, 1999