Boston IVF is working to market the Saliva Test to other clinics by the end of the year.
For more information from Boston IVF, including three related videos about the new Saliva Test you can visit Boston IVF's website.
|Researchers at Boston IVF develop saliva test to replace blood test|
(NECN: Allly Donnelly) - Huddled for tummy time with four month old Beatrice, Nicole Nogueira could never have imagined how hard it would be for her to have a baby.
"It didn't even really cross my mind," she said.
But the 33-year-old Norwell, Mass. woman and her husband Jake started trying more than three years ago. First naturally, then running the fertility gauntlet. They arrived eventually at the doorstep of Boston IVF for in vitro fertilization.
"I always felt like it was this part time job that was so stressful and I just dreaded it," Nogueira said.
Trying to get pregnant consumed her. In five cycles of IVF, there were the shots, the hormones, the days off work for transfers, the rumor mill grinding when the Harvard University social worker missed appointments or was late for meetings, the blood draws, blood draws and more blood draws.
Dr. Michael Alper is the medical director of Boston IVF.
"Patients feel like pin cushions because there are so many sticks. If you get one blood test for your annual physical, that's okay, everyone can tolerate that. Imagine yourself getting six or seven blood sticks within a few days. That's a whole different level of invasiveness," said Alper.
Boston IVF is home of the first test tube baby in New England and, Tuesday, Alper announced another first. Researchers there have developed a saliva test to replace the daily blood tests doctors use to monitor patients' hormone levels. Women can now spit into a container, seal it and drop it off to be analyzed at Boston IVF's Waltham center and soon their other centers around New England. The fertility giant is also trying to sell the test commercially, hoping to roll it out nationwide by the end of the year.
So now there's the spit test as opposed to having to have your blood drawn. You might say, what's the big deal? But to patients like Nicole it's a very big deal. She says half the battle of trying to have a baby is physical, and the other half is mental.
"Just trying to feel stable and healthy," Nogueira said. "I do feel it could be more user friendly if there was One less appointment. If you didn't have to wait that 20 minutes for the blood draw privacy, less questions at work if you forget to take the band aid off. I also feel it would give more control."
Dr. Alper agreed.
"Some studies have shown that the stress of infertility is greater than the stress after being diagnosed with having cancer."
Alper said stress is also one of the leading reasons patients stop doing IVF.
The Nogueiras took a three-month break from treatment two years ago and could very well have dropped out entirely, but, as they cuddle with Beatrice, they are so glad they didn't.