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Doctors criticise nonevidence-based fertility tests

Leading doctors in the UK have criticised the use of scientifically unsound tests and treatments for fertility problems.

Some clinicians have developed a series of immunological screening tests and interventions in recent years that are promoted on the internet as a the answer to fertility problems.

These tests are based on the idea that reproductive failure may be caused by immunological abnormalities.

However, a review published by the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians has found no scientific evidence to support the idea that reproductive failure can be blamed on immunological abnormalities.

Study author professor Lesley Regan said: “It is a major concern to clinicians in the UK that patients are turning up to appointments armed with information downloaded from the web and wanting these unvalidated immunological tests.”

She adds that advice given on many sites is strongly influenced by the personal prejudices of doctors practising nonevidence-based medicine.

Professor Alison Murdoch, chair of the British Fertility Society, added: “Infertile couples are often desperate to try any possibly therapy and it is essential that we only recommend treatments of proven value.”

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Scientific Advisory Committee