New hope for those suffering from fertility issues has been provided after a hormone which could aid conception is identified. According to scientists, the recently discovered fertility hormone could help prepare the lining of the womb for conception.
Here, we’ll look at what the study revealed and why it is an exciting development within the fertility industry.
DHEA hormone could be key to helping women in their forties conceive
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, have discovered the DHEA hormone could help prepare the womb lining for pregnancy. After testing the tissue collected from women in their forties, DHEA was shown to double the number of key proteins required for implantation.
The results of the study were published within the Fertility and Sterility Journal. Funded by the Medical Research Council, the findings could prove invaluable at producing effective future fertility treatments.
According to the researchers, this new discovery could help to increase the pregnancy rates of women trying to conceive via IVF or naturally. It is especially great news for middle-aged women who may only now be starting to think of having a baby. Prior research has shown women are waiting longer to have children these days, often resulting in issues with fertility. So, this fertility hormone could be key to ensuring pregnancy in older age is achievable.
Could hormone tablets help boost fertility?
DHEA treatment is actually already available in both a hormonal gel and tablet form. However, these treatments are largely used for non-pregnancy related issues. For example, they are advertised as being effective at slowing down the aging process and fat reduction.
Trials have been carried out to determine whether DHEA could help the ovaries to work better, but they failed to make a connection. However, it did show pregnancy rates were higher in women undergoing IVF treatment.
Little is also known about the exact environment required for a healthy egg implantation, but the study showed DHEA does appear to send the right signals to the appropriate cells. It was also discovered that the hormone boosts androgen production, a sex hormone found in both sexes, responsible for preparing the womb for pregnancy.
The scientists are keen to point out that the research is still very much in its early stages. Therefore, more studies will be required before DHEA related treatments could be used to help older couples conceive.
Other potential causes of fertility issues
While low DHEA levels associated with ageing, could be a barrier to fertility for older couples, it’s certainly not the only factor to be aware of. It is estimated that 1 in 7 couples within the UK struggles to conceive. Changes to male sperm is also said to play a major part, with stress affecting both the quality and motor ability of the sperm.
Therefore, it is vital couples seek professional help to determine the true cause of their fertility issues. Only then can a treatment plan be created. If it does turn out to be a problem with DHEA, this new research could prove crucial for developing a treatment in the not too distant future.