Prospective parents longing for kids of their own may no longer have to spend thousands of dollars on IVF treatments, thanks to this 100-year technique for inducing pregnancies.

This new study tested the effects of an old medical treatment for increasing women’s fertility. The treatment, which involves flushing the fallopian tubes with an iodized poppy seed oil, actually revealed surprisingly positive results.

The experiment was conducted across 27 medical centers in the Netherlands and Australia with 1,119 infertile women. Half of the women were given water-based solutions to use on their systems, while the other half was given the oil-based solution. Scientists found that 40% of women who underwent the oil-based procedure became pregnant within the first six months of treatment, as opposed to only 29% in the water-based group.

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“It was long believed that testing a woman’s fallopian tubes could have fertility benefits through ‘flushing out’ the kind of debris that hinders fertility. The reality is, we still don’t really understand why there is a benefit, only that there is a benefit from this technique, in particular for women who don’t present with any other treatable fertility symptoms,” says project leader Professor Ben Mol.

“Further research would need to be conducted into the mechanisms behind what we’re seeing. For now, and considering the technique has been used for 100 years without any known side-effects, we believe it is a viable treatment for infertility prior to couples seeking IVF.

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“Not only is there a known benefit, but this flushing procedure is also a fraction of the cost of one cycle of IVF. Considering that 40% of women in the oil-based group achieved a successful pregnancy, that’s 40% of couples who could avoid having to go through the huge costs and emotions associated with IVF treatment,” he says.

Coincidentally, Mol himself is a product of the procedure – although he didn’t find out about his unique heritage until after he began the study.

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His mother, who had spent nine years during the 1960s trying to conceive a child, only became pregnant after she used the oil-based treatment. He now believes that it’s highly likely he – and his brother – are both the happy result.

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