What is Intralipid used for in IVF?

What is Intralipid used for in IVF 1

Intralipids have been given intravenously to patients since the 1960s to improve nutrition after operations. Premature babies also receive them. Your body receives calories from Intralipids, a compound made of soybean oil, egg yolk, glycerin, and water. It’s possible that you can’t produce these important fatty acids on your own, at least not in the recommended quantity.

What is Intralipid?

Intralipid is a solution that contains soybean oil, egg yolk phospholipids, and glycerin. A range of necessary fatty acids is provided by the solution when given intravenously. 

Women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) whose fertility is compromised by immune system malfunction get intralipid treatment. Intralipid intravenous infusions before, during, and after IVF can improve embryo implantation. Additionally, intralipid therapy can support pregnancy preservation. (1)

How does the immune system affect implantation?

IVF involves the fertilization of an egg with sperm in a lab, followed by the transfer of a healthy embryo to your uterus. The embryo should successfully implant in the endometrium, the uterine lining, after being put in. 

The endometrium must be receptive in order for implantation to take place. This is a complicated process that depends on elements like hormones and the proper interaction of the mother’s immune system with the embryo. 

A healthy endometrium is aided by many immune cell varieties. The uterine natural killer (NK) cell subtype is crucial for implantation. Tumor cells are eliminated by natural killer cells. Even though they are poisonous, they emit chemicals that are essential for a healthy pregnancy in the womb. 

​​Growth factors that support implantation and help in the formation of a healthy placenta are released by uterine NK cells, which also stimulate the development of vital blood arteries. (2)

When is the right time for Intralipid therapy?

Intralipid therapy could benefit women whose NK cell counts are abnormally high since it inhibits uterine NK cell activity. 

Intralipid therapy often begins a week or two before your IVF embryo transfer; based on your particular requirements, you may subsequently receive a second infusion or continuous treatments during the first trimester of your pregnancy. (3)

Despite the fact that intravenous intralipid is not advised as a standard treatment for recurrent miscarriages or implantation failure, there is enough evidence to suggest that it may be taken into consideration in certain patients for whom routine testing is unimportant, conventional treatments have failed, and immunological risk factors are present. To find out what can help patients, more research is needed on the target marker of aberrant uterine natural killer (uNK) cells. (4)

What do studies say about Intralipid therapy in IVF?

There is debate concerning the advantages and effectiveness of intravenous intralipid treatment for patients who have a history of infertility. It is frequently claimed that there is no trustworthy data to back up their use. 

One situation medical professionals often encounter is patients asking us to consider immunotherapy (such as intralipid) for reproductive failure using good-quality embryos.

In some patient populations, intralipid infusions have been shown to increase IVF pregnancy rates and decrease the chance of miscarriage, however, the findings of these studies have not been widely embraced. 

According to a detailed review of the literature and 12 studies that found that intravenous intralipid therapy resulted in improved implantation pregnancy and live birth rates and reduced miscarriage rates, there was evidence that intralipid was effective in some patients in whom standard treatments had failed. (5)

Is Intralipid therapy right for me?

Intralipid therapy offers a glimmer of hope for individuals grappling with the heartache of recurrent implantation failure or miscarriage. These challenges may stem from an unusual immune response, particularly when elevated levels of natural killer (NK) cells in the uterus create an inhospitable environment for embryo implantation. As part of the body’s immune defense, NK cells typically protect against infections. However, in certain instances, they may inadvertently hinder the process of implantation, posing significant barriers to achieving a successful pregnancy through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Intralipid therapy emerges as a novel approach, aiming to modulate the immune system’s response to support implantation. Despite this innovative strategy, it’s crucial to approach Intralipid therapy with an informed perspective. Consideration must be given to:

  • The individual’s medical background, particularly documented instances of elevated NK cell levels coupled with a history of reproductive challenges.
  • The current state of scientific evidence. Although preliminary studies indicate a possible benefit, robust, comprehensive research is necessary to establish definitive conclusions.
  • The potential for adverse effects. Individuals may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and nausea following Intralipid infusions.
  • Financial implications. The cost of Intralipid therapy, often not covered by insurance, warrants careful consideration.

Hence, Intralipid therapy in IVF signifies a beacon of hope for some, yet it necessitates a thorough evaluation of personal health history, scientific validation, side effect profiles, and financial commitments.

Source:

5-Kumar, P., Marron, K., & Harrity, C. (2021). Intralipid therapy and adverse reproductive outcome: is there any evidence?. Reproduction & Fertility, 2(3), 173.

Singh, N., Davis, A. A., Kumar, S., & Kriplani, A. (2019). The effect of administration of intravenous intralipid on pregnancy outcomes in women with implantation failure after IVF/ICSI with non-donor oocytes: a randomised controlled trial. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 240, 45-51.

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