by Corey Whelan
For women undergoing in vitro fertilization, the stress and discomfort of daily blood tests become a way of life. This may be about to change. Cutting-edge medical practice, Boston IVF, recently introduced the first known, needle-free saliva test, designed to replace daily blood draws currently used to monitor infertility patients during treatment. The tests are required to measure hormonal response to fertility medication.
The stress and physical discomfort that can be experienced by infertility patients has always been of great concern to Boston IVF Medical Director, Michael Alper, M.D. Says Alper, "The idea (for the test) came to mind from a research study we were performing that involved measuring a hormone called cortisol, which is known to be present in saliva. Based on the idea that non-reproductive hormones appear in saliva, the thought occurrred that other female hormones would be present in saliva as well." Following two years of research, the Boston IVF team proved that the hormone estradiol can be accurately measured in saliva as well as in blood. Patients collect their own saliva sample at home and bring it to the clinic for same-day results.
Currently, this simple and convenient test is only available at Boston IVF, however, according to clinic spokesperson Theo Lopreste, the technology will be made available to other IVF centers around the U.S. and worldwide over the next several months. This is good news for infertility patients everywhere. Take former patient and current mom, Nicole Nogueira's word for it. Says Nogueira, "The saliva study helped the process of IVF be more friendly. It created more privacy. I felt it was less invasive and definitely gave me more control, and made me feel like IVF wasn't running my life." Nogueira recently gave birth to a baby girl as a result of treatment.