Aspirin-a-day could boost chance of having a baby
Scientists believe aspirin targets inflammation in the body, providing a safer environment for a growing embryo
It is the cheap wonder drug which is thought to prevent cancer, ward off heart disease and lower the risk of a stroke but now aspirin may also boost fertility, scientists believe.
A US study showed that taking around a quarter of a regular aspirin tablet - the amount that is safe for a child - can increase the chance of getting pregnant and giving birth, even for women who have previously suffered a miscarriage.
"Aspirin is the drug of the millennium. There is no harm in women wanting to get pregnant taking aspirin."
It is thought that aspirin targets inflammation in the body, providing a safer environment for a growing embryo.
The drug - which is derived from willow bark - has been found to increase blood supply to the pelvis and make the womb lining thicker so that embryos can implant more easily.
Fertility experts said that women should consider taking a small amount of aspirin a day - around 81mg - to improve their chances, particularly if they have previously struggled to become pregnant, or have lost a lost a child. Most over the counter aspirin tablets are 300mg.
The study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in Rockville, Maryland and the University of Utah looked at 1228 women who had previously suffered a miscarriage.
They found that for women with high levels of inflammation taking an aspirin boosted their chance of pregnancy by 17 per cent, rising from 56 per cent to 67 per cent. Their chance of giving birth to a healthy baby also rose from 46 to 55 per cent, an overall rise of nearly 20 per cent.
Richard Paulson, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, said his own patients were advised to take pre natal vitamins like folic acid and an 81-milligram baby aspirin a day whilst receiving fertility treatment.
"Many people use it routinely, including in our clinics,” he said “We have been doing this for many years.
He said that previous studies had been divided but insisted there was insufficient evidence to stop using low-dosage aspirin.
"Aspirin is the drug of the millennium. There is no harm in women wanting to get pregnant taking aspirin. It increases blood flow to the pelvis, it increases endometrial thickness.”
Recent studies have shown that taking an aspirin-a-day lowers the risk of developing, and dying from bowel, oesophageal, stomach, prostate,and breast cancers, stroke and heart attack.
However it can also increase the risk of dying from stomach bleeding and peptic ulcer by 70 per cent.
Cancer Research UK have estimated that if 1,000 people aged 60 took aspirin every day for 10 years it would save around 17 lives from cancer and heart attacks while causing 2-3 deaths from bleeding.
Consultant Gynaecologist Dr Stuart Lavery of Imperial College said there was good underlying science to suggest a link between inflammation in the body and fertility, which aspirin may help.
"My impression is that most doctors think aspirin would be beneficial in a sub-group of women, but would there be benefits for all women? My impression is it is probably too blunt an instrument," he said.
Other British experts also urged caution, claiming that there is not still not enough evidence to show that aspirin is beneficial for women trying to conceive.
Coventry-based Dr Richard Kennedy, president-elect of the International Federation of Fertility said they were soon to release guideline cautioning against the use.
"The evidence does support it’s routine use in IVF. There is insufficient evidence to change the current view.”
Dublin consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Edgar Mocanu, treasurer of the IFFS, added: “I don’t think women trying to get pregnant should take an aspirin every day. The evidence does not support the need.”
The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive a medicine in Baltimore.
Last year a study in Annals of Internal Medicine, showed researchers found that taking low dosage aspirin daily after the third trimester of pregnancy can protect certain groups of women from preeclampsia, a condition that can endanger the health of both mother and unborn child.