A strong cup of coffee could help prevent a life-threatening complication of IVF according to a new study.
Around 5% to 10% of women undergoing IVF experience a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Caffeine could block adenosine – a chenical that increases the risk of OHSS.
Although the majority of OHSS cases are mild, with symptoms including abdominal bloating, nausea and weight gain, in its most serious form it can cause blood clotting disorders, kidney damage and chest pain.
Scientists from Middlesex University and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry who analysed fluid around the human egg discovered surprisingly high levels of the chemical adenosine.
They believe OHSS is caused when IVF drug stimulation creates high levels of adenosine, causing the blood vessels to dilate and blood fluid to leak into tissue.
“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.” said Ray Iles, professor of biomedical science at Middlesex University.
Further research is under way at Barts and The London Centre for Reproductive Medicine.