Intralipid infusions during IVF: hype or help?

Intralipid infusions during IVF: hype or help?

Are intralipid infusions helpful  during IVF treatment? No, if you believe fertility guru Robert Winston. He tweeted: ‘Intralipids are peddled for so-called immune infertility. Yet another remedy being used without real evidence it works.’ Is he right? Let’s take a close look at intralipids to see if they work for fertility patients or not.

Intralipid infusion therapy isn’t new. Since the 1960s, intralipids have been given intravenously to patients to boost nutrition after operations. Premature babies get them, too. A blend of soya bean oil, egg yolk, glycerin and water, intralipids infuse your body with calories. You might not make these essential fatty acids yourself.

Early research was promising. UK researchers gave intralipid infusions to 50 women. All had been through numerous unsuccessful IVF cycles. Half of them got pregnant after taking the intralipids. The miscarriage rate was higher for another group who weren’t given intralipids. Small study, but an interesting one.

But a 2018 study into intralipid infusions and pregnancy loss found no evidence infusions made any difference to the live birth rate. This came on top of another study, two years earlier, that said implantation rates were not improved after intralipids.

So what’s the clinical position now? Some doctors still think NK cells in the womb lining threaten embryos. Intralipids might, they say, lower the risk of that happening. But larger randomized trials into IVF and intralipids are needed to truly prove this.

So we have small-scale research. And clinics’ own approaches, based on their experience. Who to believe? Some unscrupulous clinics have undoubtedly overplayed the NK cell threat. Anxious IVF patients are soft targets for hard marketers. Being told your body may be sabotaging your embryo is a mortifying suggestion. IVF patients will pay for anything that improves their chances.

Thankfully, responsible clinics are less aggressive. They explain to patients that intralipid infusions may affect the immunological conditions of their wombs. That elevated NK cells on the surface of the lining may be suppressed. That implantation rates may be improved. That infusions may benefit certain patients, based on their specific fertility history.

If you’ve had miscarriages, repeated implantation failure and have elevated NK levels, intralipid infusion therapy is certainly still an option. Discuss it with your clinic. And ask whether a steroid called Prednisolone, which also alters the immunological conditions in your uterus, is worth trying first.

A typical course of IVF intralipid treatment starts seven days before your scheduled egg retrieval. A second infusion is often done on your embryo transfer day. Some clinics propose a third infusion immediately after a positive pregnancy test. And then monthly ones till the 13-week mark.

How much do intralipid infusions cost? In the UK, it’s a minefield. Some fertility clinics will only do them if you’re having treatment with them. Other independent practitioners  accept anyone. Expect to pay £250 for one treatment.

Our verdict on intralipids during IVF? Be realistic. Don’t expect miracles. Don’t have them at all if you’ve got an egg or soya allergy or might react badly to a cannula in your arm. There’s also a small chance of a headache, nausea and vomiting. Be guided, ultimately, by your clinic.

40 Comments
  • Ead
    Posted at 02:43h, 08 September Reply

    I have gotten pregnant relatively easily even at the age of 39 and 40. I had 4 miscarriages with my husband and all 4 were between 6-11 weeks and all had heartbeats. My progesterone was a bit low and I have borderline hypothyroidism. My husbands sperm tests are fine. I am also a SMA, carrier he is not. After hearing from most REs and OBs docs that my age was the reason for my miscarriages I saw another RE and RPL specialist who had more tests run on us. He says I have active nk cells and me and my husband are a partial DQ alpha match which is what is causing my pregnancy losses. He suggested I try ivf egg banking and when/if we get embryos, test them and transfer 1 at a time. So now we have gone through 3 failed egg retrieval cycles with that doc. All 3 cycles only yielded 2-4 eggs retrieved in each cycle, all fertilized easily however, only 1 embryo made it to pgs testing and that was abnormal. Now I am a whopping 43, should we give up? I already know about egg donors.

    • Jane
      Posted at 04:50h, 27 September Reply

      Never give up Ead!!
      Xx

    • Shirley
      Posted at 10:38h, 11 December Reply

      Never give up! I’m 43, actually lying at my clinic having my intralipid drip, had 2 mc this year, one was natural pregnancy, the last one was egg donor FET…2nd transfer is Thursday, I haven’t given up yet

  • Ead
    Posted at 02:43h, 08 September Reply

    I have gotten pregnant relatively easily even at the age of 39 and 40. I had 4 miscarriages with my husband and all 4 were between 6-11 weeks and all had heartbeats. My progesterone was a bit low and I have borderline hypothyroidism. My husbands sperm tests are fine. I am also a SMA, carrier he is not. After hearing from most REs and OBs docs that my age was the reason for my miscarriages I saw another RE and RPL specialist who had more tests run on us. He says I have active nk cells and me and my husband are a partial DQ alpha match which is what is causing my pregnancy losses. He suggested I try ivf egg banking and when/if we get embryos, test them and transfer 1 at a time. So now we have gone through 3 failed egg retrieval cycles with that doc. All 3 cycles only yielded 2-4 eggs retrieved in each cycle, all fertilized easily however, only 1 embryo made it to pgs testing and that was abnormal. Now I am a whopping 43, should we give up? I already know about egg donors.

    • Jane
      Posted at 04:50h, 27 September Reply

      Never give up Ead!!
      Xx

    • Shirley
      Posted at 10:38h, 11 December Reply

      Never give up! I’m 43, actually lying at my clinic having my intralipid drip, had 2 mc this year, one was natural pregnancy, the last one was egg donor FET…2nd transfer is Thursday, I haven’t given up yet

  • Ead
    Posted at 02:46h, 08 September Reply

    The RE also said he would put me on intralipids and steroids and maybe other drugs when and if, I get any embryos that PGS test okay.

    • AJ
      Posted at 16:09h, 19 October Reply

      Ead- I think you should go for it! why not try everything. I had numerous early misscariages as well and did intralipid once and have a healthy baby boy. Now we’re trying to get pregnant with #2 without intralipids and guess what, I can’t stay pregnant again.

  • Ead
    Posted at 02:46h, 08 September Reply

    The RE also said he would put me on intralipids and steroids and maybe other drugs when and if, I get any embryos that PGS test okay.

    • AJ
      Posted at 16:09h, 19 October Reply

      Ead- I think you should go for it! why not try everything. I had numerous early misscariages as well and did intralipid once and have a healthy baby boy. Now we’re trying to get pregnant with #2 without intralipids and guess what, I can’t stay pregnant again.

  • Casey Perry
    Posted at 14:01h, 11 September Reply

    We had 17 miscarriages getting pregnant on our own but not staying past 7 weeks, we did intralipid once & have a healthy 3 year old. I wouldn’t count it out & it’s nothing harmful so why not try it before you try all these other expensive tests & treatments.

  • Casey Perry
    Posted at 14:01h, 11 September Reply

    We had 17 miscarriages getting pregnant on our own but not staying past 7 weeks, we did intralipid once & have a healthy 3 year old. I wouldn’t count it out & it’s nothing harmful so why not try it before you try all these other expensive tests & treatments.

  • Nora
    Posted at 06:03h, 26 March Reply

    I have been trying to conceive 11 years we have unexplained infertility and had 4 iui and 6 icsi / ivf treatments and never got pregnant never got a positive result never ever.
    Last time my doctor scratched the uterus lining and gave me Intralipid one period before and gave me ( Co Q10 ) like a vitamin that gives you better egg quality
    And my husband took 3 months before ivf 2 fertility men vitamins ( fertil pro men & fertil pro mtl)
    And guess what i was pregnant first time in my life
    Don’t give up and try Intralipid also try (co Q10) and the men vitamin for your husband.
    I continued Intralipid after a positive and 2 more the next 2 months.
    Thank God we tried it.

  • Nora
    Posted at 06:03h, 26 March Reply

    I have been trying to conceive 11 years we have unexplained infertility and had 4 iui and 6 icsi / ivf treatments and never got pregnant never got a positive result never ever.
    Last time my doctor scratched the uterus lining and gave me Intralipid one period before and gave me ( Co Q10 ) like a vitamin that gives you better egg quality
    And my husband took 3 months before ivf 2 fertility men vitamins ( fertil pro men & fertil pro mtl)
    And guess what i was pregnant first time in my life
    Don’t give up and try Intralipid also try (co Q10) and the men vitamin for your husband.
    I continued Intralipid after a positive and 2 more the next 2 months.
    Thank God we tried it.

    • khyati
      Posted at 13:41h, 29 November Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing ur experience.its of great help

  • Max
    Posted at 08:58h, 05 April Reply

    I am 43 and have had 9 ivf/icsi treatments over the last 14 years, with 2 positive tests that led to very early miscarriages.
    My infertility is unexplained, eggs sperm etc all good. So I sometimes wonder if i should have given up too as maybe this wasn’t meant to be for me……but crazy i know i am giving it one last shot!!
    I am having donor eggs for the first time and my first Intralipid on Monday. I was unsure on intralipids and was thinking today about cancelling my appointment on Monday but this has given me some encouragement and peace of mind!
    I wish you all the best Ead on what ever decision you make, its certainly not an easy one!

    • Maria
      Posted at 11:56h, 09 May Reply

      Im having one at this moment. Hope you are pregnant

    • K
      Posted at 22:29h, 23 May Reply

      Best of luck! Our transfer is next week after one round of Intralipids

    • Kimberly shepherd
      Posted at 14:39h, 19 April Reply

      I was wondering if this worked for you

  • Max
    Posted at 08:58h, 05 April Reply

    I am 43 and have had 9 ivf/icsi treatments over the last 14 years, with 2 positive tests that led to very early miscarriages.
    My infertility is unexplained, eggs sperm etc all good. So I sometimes wonder if i should have given up too as maybe this wasn’t meant to be for me……but crazy i know i am giving it one last shot!!
    I am having donor eggs for the first time and my first Intralipid on Monday. I was unsure on intralipids and was thinking today about cancelling my appointment on Monday but this has given me some encouragement and peace of mind!
    I wish you all the best Ead on what ever decision you make, its certainly not an easy one!

    • Maria
      Posted at 11:56h, 09 May Reply

      Im having one at this moment. Hope you are pregnant

    • K
      Posted at 22:29h, 23 May Reply

      Best of luck! Our transfer is next week after one round of Intralipids

    • Kimberly shepherd
      Posted at 14:39h, 19 April Reply

      I was wondering if this worked for you

  • K
    Posted at 22:28h, 23 May Reply

    I am 40 and We have had 2 failed fresh transfer and one failed frozen we onto our 4th I couldn’t find a Dr hat would prescribe and monitor Intralipids thankfully I found a naturopathic dr that would! I did the Intralipid yesterday…. transfer is next week I am feeling very positive with all that I have read about Intralipids thank you for your positive stories 🙂 god bless

  • K
    Posted at 22:28h, 23 May Reply

    I am 40 and We have had 2 failed fresh transfer and one failed frozen we onto our 4th I couldn’t find a Dr hat would prescribe and monitor Intralipids thankfully I found a naturopathic dr that would! I did the Intralipid yesterday…. transfer is next week I am feeling very positive with all that I have read about Intralipids thank you for your positive stories 🙂 god bless

  • Cindy
    Posted at 11:48h, 27 May Reply

    Never give up. I’m doing egg doner. Im 45 nearly 46. On my 12th cycle with one embryo left. Had 7 miscarriages and just found out I’ve got nkc so I’m going to have intralipid too. I’ll be also on progesterone pessaries and clexane injections and predisdone. Praying all goes well.

    • A.Tejaswini
      Posted at 09:21h, 23 June Reply

      Does prednisone effects the baby

    • Cheryl
      Posted at 21:07h, 04 June Reply

      Wishing you well! My dr recommended also. High NK cells, never been pregnant.

  • Cindy
    Posted at 11:48h, 27 May Reply

    Never give up. I’m doing egg doner. Im 45 nearly 46. On my 12th cycle with one embryo left. Had 7 miscarriages and just found out I’ve got nkc so I’m going to have intralipid too. I’ll be also on progesterone pessaries and clexane injections and predisdone. Praying all goes well.

    • A.Tejaswini
      Posted at 09:21h, 23 June Reply

      Does prednisone effects the baby

    • Cheryl
      Posted at 21:07h, 04 June Reply

      Wishing you well! My dr recommended also. High NK cells, never been pregnant.

    • Adele Wilson
      Posted at 01:24h, 01 February Reply

      I have just read this post from you in 2018…you were about to try intralipid infusion for another try at holding a pregnancy. My daughters wondering if she should try this with her slightly elevated NK cells. How did you get along with it and have you succeeded. Thankyou.

  • Arowosegb Christiana
    Posted at 21:27h, 08 January Reply

    How can I get the INTRALIP PROCESS IN IVF

  • Arowosegb Christiana
    Posted at 21:27h, 08 January Reply

    How can I get the INTRALIP PROCESS IN IVF

  • Arowosegbe Christiana
    Posted at 21:29h, 08 January Reply

    How can I get the INTRALIP PROCESS IN IVF and how much?

  • Arowosegbe Christiana
    Posted at 21:29h, 08 January Reply

    How can I get the INTRALIP PROCESS IN IVF and how much?

  • Miriam
    Posted at 23:31h, 20 May Reply

    Had Intralipids after 7 ivf attempts – did anyone feel period pain after the infusion and had lot of spotting? Wondering if this is safe to try again if pregnancy test positive with all the spotting and period like pain i had? My clinic never called me back. Unsure what todo. Any suggestions welcome.

    • Cat
      Posted at 10:52h, 18 September Reply

      I had intralipids through most of my pregnancies. I had no problem at all. I recommend as it won’t hurt

    • Cat
      Posted at 10:53h, 18 September Reply

      Sorry I meant both pregnancies

    • Cat
      Posted at 10:54h, 18 September Reply

      I had with both pregnancies every 4 weeks.

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