Researchers from the University of Utah and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) suggest that taking just 81 mg of aspirin daily may boost a woman’s likelihood of conception by reducing systemic inflammation, improving the environment in which an embryo grows.
Aspirin is a salicylate drug commonly used to reduce fever, inflammation and relieve minor aches and pains. It is also increasingly used as an anti-platelet medication to reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke among individuals at high risk.
There has been much focus on the potential health benefits of aspirin in recent months. One study reported by Medical News Today suggested the drug may double the likelihood of survival for patients with gastrointestinal cancers, while another study suggested daily aspirin may help prevent breast cancer.
Now, new research suggests improvements in fertility could be added to the growing list of benefits regular aspirin use may bring.
Daily low-dose aspirin increased conception chances by 17%
The new study involved 1,228 women aged 18-40 who had experienced miscarriage in the past 12 months. All women had systemic inflammation.
Compared with women who did not take aspirin daily, those who took 81 mg of the drug each day were 17% more likely to become pregnant and almost 20% more likely to have a successful birth.
The researchers suggest that daily aspirin reduces systemic inflammation, making the womb a safer environment for the embryo to grow.
Fast facts about fertility
- Making certain lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake, can increase a woman’s chances of conception
- Previous studies have linked high intake of caffeine with delayed conception
- Increasing physical activity and adopting a healthy diet can increase the likelihood of conception.
According to Prof. Richard Poulson – vice president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), which was not involved in the study – previous research has also suggested that aspirin boosts the chances of conception by increasing blood flow to the pelvis and thickening the lining of the womb, making it easier for the embryo to implant.
Based on these findings and those from previous studies, Prof. Poulson – who is also professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine – believes that any woman trying for a baby, particularly those undergoing fertility treatment, should take low-dose aspirin daily to boost their chances of conception.
“Unless they are allergic or have a gastric condition, I would certainly advise them to take it, there is no harm,” he says. “Many people use it routinely, including in our clinics. We have been doing this for many years.”
At present, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) only recommend the use of low-dose aspirin during pregnancy after 12 weeks of gestation for women who are at high risk for preeclampsia. Whether women should take daily low-dose aspirin to increase their chances of conception, however, remains a gray area.
Many health experts say there is insufficient evidence to suggest all women should take aspirin regularly to increase chances of pregnancy, noting that the drug can produce a number of side effects, such as internal bleeding.
“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,” says Dr. Stuart Lavery, consultant gynecologist at Imperial College London in the UK.
MNT recently reported on another study presented at the ASRM annual meeting in which researchers detailed a new test that they say could boost in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates to as much as 80%.
Written by Honor Whiteman