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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Needle-free fertility on the horizon
Needles
IVF patients face many injections
Fear of needles and the discomfort of daily injections could soon be a thing of the past for women undergoing IVF treatment.

Women need daily doses of hormones in the run-up to their eggs being harvested for IVF.

Although some of these drugs can be given in the form of a nasal spray, others have to be given through a needle.

This can mean that women have to give themselves a jab with a fine needle every for a few weeks - and for women who are "needle-phobic", this can be an ordeal.

A team from Hammersmith Hospitial, London, has successfully used a needle-free device called a J-tip to inject women undergoing IVF.

The J-Tip overcomes this problem by making use of a compressed carbon dioxide gas cartridge to propel liquid medication at high pressure through the skin.

Most IVF drugs only have to be given just under the skin rather than into a vein or muscle.

The Hammersmith team led by Mr Geoffrey Trew, a consultant gynaecologist, tested the J-Tip on 20 patients between the ages of 20 and 38 years old, who were undergoing IVF treatment, to see how effective it was in prompting controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.

They also wanted to test how easy it was to use, how acceptable it was to the patients and whether its use could result in pregnancies.

Collecting eggs

The annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard that the doctors were able on average to retrieve 12 eggs from the 16 women who completed the ten day course of treatment.

This average would be regarded as a good result by doctors.

As a result of successful egg collection, four of the women then became pregnant.

Dr Stuart Lavery, a member of the Hammersmith team, said: "The results in this small study were reassuringly comparable with conventional techniques in terms of number of eggs collected and pregnancy rates.

"The study shows that the J-Tip is capable of delivering hormones in a new and less invasive way."

Although nurses administered the J-Tip injections, the ultimate aim is for the patients to be able to do it themselves.

Reports from the 2002 Eshre conference in Vienna

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25 Aug 98 | Health
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