Landmark Boston IVF Fertility Research Study Reinforces Value of Prompt Treatment of Unexplained Infertility

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Study concludes that moving to treatment sooner allows the opportunity to achieve more than one live birth.

The results of a 2021 follow-up study have reinforced the continued effectiveness of fertility treatments for individuals and couples who wish to build a family and have received a medical diagnosis of unexplained infertility.

Researchers at Boston IVF, with Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and Harvard Medical School, contacted patients with unexplained infertility who participated in the landmark FASTT Trial between 2001 and 2005 with a goal to learn more about the occurrence of pregnancies subsequent to the trial and initial treatment for unexplained infertility.

The follow-up study is of paramount relevance to clinicians and patients alike, according to lead author Denis Vaughan, MD – reproductive endocrinologist and Director of Clinical Research at Boston IVF and Harvard Medical School Instructor.

“One of the primary questions clinicians receive from patients is ‘If I have unexplained infertility and need infertility treatment for my first child, does that mean I can never have a child without treatment in the future?’ Until this follow-up study, we could not answer that question,” said Dr. Vaughan.

The initial FASTT Trial, led by Richard Reindollar, MD of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and co-investigators at Boston IVF, studied 503 couples of various ages who were unable to become pregnant naturally after trying to conceive for one year. The results of the National Institutes of Health-funded trial concluded that women aged 21-39 who were fast-tracked to IVF after not becoming pregnant with less-aggressive Clomid/IUI treatments had increased pregnancy rates, a shorter time to pregnancy, and a decrease in cost of care.

Overall, 64% of couples had at least one live birth during the FASTT Trial.

“We thought that unexplained infertility was caused by a disorder yet to be identified. The fact that the vast majority of couples became pregnant in treatment from FASTT and also become pregnant again after FASTT suggests that unexplained infertility is just that – unexplained,” said Dr. Reindollar.

The 2021 follow-up study, published in the leading journal Fertility and Sterility, was the subject of a recent press release by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Utilizing key data obtained from 286 of the original 503 couples, results of the study were overwhelmingly positive for patients.

Only 6.6% couples with unexplained infertility did not have a child over the course of their reproductive lifetime – and almost two-thirds of couples were able to have a child without any additional treatment following the trial.

According to Dr. Vaughan, the study has several positive messages for patients.

“The overwhelming majority of patients with unexplained infertility will ultimately have a baby and most will not require infertility treatment for subsequent children. Additionally, moving to treatment sooner allows for larger families, which is the goal of our patients. Lastly, it highlights the importance of insurance coverage for infertility treatment.”

Boston IVF is one of the largest and most experienced fertility networks in the United States, with more than 125,000 babies born since 1986. Founded as one of the nation's first private practice IVF centers, the Boston IVF network has grown to include over 30 reproductive endocrinologists across 30 centers throughout Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Utah. A renowned innovator of reproductive technologies and research, Boston IVF has achieved numerous "firsts" in the field of reproductive care. Boston IVF’s scientific and research arm continues to pave the way for breakthroughs in fertility care and its accredited REI Fellowship Program has graduated numerous reproductive endocrinologists as part of its mission to train the next generation of fertility experts. In 2019, this leading provider of fertility services in the United States was acquired by Eugin, one of the largest IVF networks in the world, with centers throughout Europe and South America. For more information, please visit

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Theo LoPreste
Boston IVF
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