Taking part in clinical trials

proline_level_measurement_in_eurasian_national_universityPeople often email asking about clinical trials, and there are a couple of big multi-centre trials taking place at the moment which may be of interest. Taking part in a trial can be a really positive thing to do as you will be helping to improve understanding of techniques which may help make IVF more successful in future.
The first trial is called EFreeze and is investigating whether using frozen thawed embryos rather than fresh ones may lead to improved success rates in IVF. The theory behind this is that if the embryos are frozen rather than replaced straight away, the delay in embryo transfer means that any effects of the hormones used to stimulate the ovaries have worn off and the womb has time to return to its natural state.

Couples taking part in the study will be randomised to either have embryo transfer straight away as usual in IVF, or to have their embryos frozen and replaced later to see if this does improve outcomes. There is a lot of information for anyone considering taking part, including a list of participating centres, and a video to explain more on the trial web pages. You need to be under the age of 42 to take part in the trial which is being conducted across England and in Scotland.

The other trial is looking at endometrial scratch – a process which involves scratching the womb lining in the month before IVF treatment. There has been some research looking at this in women who’ve had repeated unsuccessful IVF cycles which suggest it may improve outcomes, but this new trial is looking at those who are having their first cycle. The study is based in Sheffield, but will be taking place at clinics around the country. It involves placing a small tube about the size of a drinking straw through the neck of the womb and gently scratching the womb’s lining.

Those taking part will be randomised to receive the scratch or not. If you want to find out more you can look at the information on the University of Sheffield website and there is a video to explain more about what is involved,

8 thoughts on “Taking part in clinical trials

  1. We have had one round of ivf which was unsuccessful and not offered anymore as eggs were low, I was wondering what if I would be eligible for trials?

    • Thanks for taking time to comment. I think these trials are both for first cycle and need you to have a good ovarian reserve – check the websites though. Each trial sets criteria for who would be eligible as it depends what they are looking at and what they are trying to find out.

  2. I’ve thought about clinical trials and would really like to help but at the same time I find it annoying that many of the trials in the UK offer nothing in return; considering how expensive IVF/ICSI is it would be nice if patients were offered a reciprical reward (as is the case in other medical trials where treatment is free or patients are actually paid). Because patients in the case of IVF are often so desperate to conceive they are urged to do these trials out of the kindness of their hearts. It’s a great shame that the CCG’s and private hospitals and drug companies who make millions out of this emotive issue can not be so kind themselves.

  3. I have a chromosome abnormality called Robertsonion translocation. Would this make me unable to take part in the Efreeze trial?

  4. The scratch trial can be for any cycle it’s being offered where we are having treatment and we declined for the first cycle. We were told we
    Would still be eligible should we chose in the future

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