US Pharm. 2008;33(5):13.

A study by a team of researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel uncovered that the very same drug that helps prevent pregnancies may play an important role in helping women conceive through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

According to Haim Pinkas, MD, a senior physician at the Rabin Medical Center and an academic staff member of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine, and colleagues at the school's infertility center, a two-week intervention treatment using a low-dose birth control pill can help in the timing of egg harvesting, making the IVF process more convenient for both doctor and patient.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction & Genetics earlier this year, explained that most physicians start the IVF process from the moment a woman gets her period. But according to the Israeli researchers, the use of birth control pills for 10 to 14 days after a period allows treatment to be adjusted without compromising the "ovarian response to stimulation."

Dr. Pinkas refutes the notion that women can only conceive on certain days of the month. "The timing of ovulation for different women is spaced out evenly throughout the year." He further comments that because the IVF timing process can be very stressful, "we can schedule a woman's ovulation with contraceptive pills, but not with the moon."

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