IVF patients advised to drink coffee

Updated: Oct 01, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Women who are undergoing In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment should drink coffee to help ward off a potentially life-threatening complication, suggest academics.

Taking IVF drugs can over-stimulate the ovaries, causing blood vessels to dilate and blood fluid to leak into tissue.

The IVF is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the womb.

The complication, called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), affects a third of the 40,000 women who undergo IVF every year.

The majority of cases are mild, causing abdominal pain and a bloated feeling, reports the Telegraph.

In its most serious form it can be life-threatening, causing blood clotting disorders, kidney damage and ovarian problems, according to the journal Metabolism.

Middlesex University scientists, working with colleagues at the St. Bartholomew`s Hospital in London, believe the condition is sparked by IVF drugs causing high levels of the chemical adenosine in the body.

They found "astronomical" levels of the chemical in the fluid around the egg.

Ray Iles, professor of biomedical science at the Middlesex University, said the trick was to find a way to stop adenosine being absorbed.

He said: "It may be that a cup of strong coffee with every IVF cycle could reduce the chances of OHSS.

"Caffeine competes with adenosine for the same receptors, effectively blocking adenosine`s action, and it could therefore potentially treat the cause of this condition."

Further work is underway to see whether caffeine could have a preventative effect.

IANS