10 Sep Folic Acid and B12 May Improve Assisted Reproductive Technology Results
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Gaskins: Infertility, defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse, is a common reproductive disorder affecting ~15% of couples who attempt to become pregnant. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), which include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), have become the main treatment modalities for couples facing infertility. Pre-conceptional folate and vitamin B12 have been linked to many beneficial early pregnancy outcomes among couples undergoing assisted reproductive technologies treatment in Europe but mixed results have been found in regards to clinical pregnancy and live birth rates. Therefore, we sought to investigate whether higher levels of serum folate and vitamin B12 could increase reproductive success in a cohort of women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies at an academic medial center in the United States.
We found that high concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 in serum are associated with increased chance of live birth following assisted reproduction. Moreover, women with higher concentrations of both serum folate and vitamin B12 had the greatest likelihood of reproductive success. Analysis of intermediate endpoints suggests that folate and vitamin B12 may exert their favorable effects on pregnancy maintenance following implantation.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Gaskins: These findings support the importance of preconception folic acid supplementation and suggest the additional intake of vitamin B12. Future research is needed to replicate our results, however, before more definite recommendations can be made.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Gaskins: Given that live birth rates per initiated assisted reproductive technologies cycle have plateaued for approximately a decade in the US, a randomized trial of high dose supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B12 before planned assisted reproductive technologies warrants serious consideration.
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Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D. (2015). Folic Acid and B12 May Improve Assisted Reproductive Technology Results