Intralipid Infusion in IVF: Success Rate, Cost & Risk

by | Aug 22, 2023 | IVF

What is Intralipids Infusion?

Intralipids infusion is a medical procedure that involves administering a solution called intralipid emulsion into the bloodstream. This emulsion consists of a mixture of soybean oil, egg phospholipids, glycerin, and water. While initially used as a source of essential fatty acids and calories in parenteral nutrition, its application has extended to the field of reproductive medicine, particularly in cases of fertility treatment and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

 

When are Intralipids Taken?

Intralipids are often taken as part of fertility treatments to address certain immunological factors that might impact pregnancy success. These factors include elevated levels of natural killer (NK) cells and cytokines that could potentially interfere with embryo implantation and successful pregnancy maintenance. Intralipids are usually administered before and during pregnancy, with specific timing varying based on individual patient needs and the fertility treatment protocol.

 

How Does it Help Fertility and Embryo Implantation?

The relationship between intralipids and fertility enhancement is rooted in their immunomodulatory properties. Certain immune responses, including increased NK cell activity and inflammation, have been associated with recurrent pregnancy loss and implantation failure. Intralipids are believed to counteract these immune responses by suppressing the activity of NK cells and promoting a more favorable uterine environment for embryo implantation.

The exact mechanism through which intralipids exert their beneficial effects on fertility and embryo implantation is not fully understood. However, it is hypothesized that the fatty acids in the intralipid emulsion influence immune cell function and cytokine production. This modulation of immune responses is thought to create a more receptive environment for embryo implantation and early pregnancy development.

 

What Does Intralipids Do For IVF?

Intralipids are also utilized in IVF treatment, especially for patients who have experienced recurrent implantation failure or multiple unsuccessful IVF cycles. In such cases, the presence of underlying immune-related issues might hinder the success of the treatment. By administering intralipids, fertility specialists aim to mitigate these immune factors and improve the chances of embryo implantation and pregnancy.

The administration of intralipids involves an intravenous infusion, typically lasting for about 1 to 2 hours. The dosage and frequency of administration vary among patients and depend on factors such as medical history, fertility treatment plan, and immunological assessments. Generally, intralipids are given before embryo transfer and, in some cases, during early pregnancy to sustain the potential benefits on the uterine environment.

 

When are Intralipids Given in IVF?

Intralipids infusion has gained traction as a potential supportive therapy in the realm of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The timing of intralipid administration within the IVF process is a critical consideration. Typically, intralipids are administered at specific junctures to optimize their potential benefits.

  • Before Embryo Transfer: Intralipid infusion is often given before the embryo transfer procedure. This timing aims to create an environment conducive to successful embryo implantation. By modulating immune responses and potentially reducing the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, intralipids may enhance the chances of the embryo successfully attaching to the uterine lining.
  • During Early Pregnancy: In certain cases, intralipids might be administered again during the early stages of pregnancy. This dual administration approach intends to maintain the immunomodulatory effects during the critical period of embryo implantation and early pregnancy establishment.

 

Success of Intralipid Infusion for IVF:

The success of Intralipid infusion as an adjunct therapy in IVF remains a topic of ongoing research and debate within the medical community. Proponents suggest that the therapy may be beneficial for women with a history of recurrent pregnancy loss or implantation failure, possibly due to immune-related factors. The lipid emulsion is believed to create a temporary immune shift, dampening potentially harmful immune responses and promoting embryo implantation.

Several studies have reported positive outcomes with Intralipid therapy, pointing to increased pregnancy rates and reduced miscarriage rates in certain patient groups. However, the evidence is not yet strong enough to consider Intralipid infusion a standard practice in IVF. The success of this therapy varies depending on factors such as the patient’s medical history, the underlying causes of infertility, and individual responses to the treatment. Therefore, before considering Intralipid therapy, couples should consult with a qualified fertility specialist who can assess their specific case and recommend suitable treatment options.

 

Cost of Intralipid Therapy in Delhi:

The cost of Intralipid therapy for IVF in Delhi can vary widely based on multiple factors. These include the fertility clinic’s reputation, location, the expertise of the medical team, and the overall treatment package. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the cost of Intralipid therapy in Delhi typically ranges from INR 10,000 to INR 25,000 per infusion. However, these costs are approximate and subject to change, so it’s essential to contact fertility clinics directly to obtain up-to-date pricing information.

It’s important to note that Intralipid therapy is often just one component of a comprehensive IVF treatment plan. The total cost of IVF, including consultations, tests, medications, procedures, and additional therapies like Intralipid infusion, can vary significantly. Some clinics might offer bundled packages that include multiple treatments, while others might charge for each component separately.

 

Risks and Side Effects of Intralipid IVF:

Intralipid infusion as a part of IVF treatment has garnered attention for its potential to enhance fertility outcomes. However, like any medical procedure, it comes with its own set of risks and potential side effects that should be carefully considered.

  • Allergic Reactions: Although rare, allergic reactions to components of the intralipid emulsion, such as soybean oil or egg phospholipids, can occur. Patients with known allergies to these substances should be cautious and discuss their concerns with their healthcare provider before undergoing the infusion.
  • Infection and Inflammation: As with any intravenous procedure, there is a small risk of infection at the site of infusion. Additionally, inflammation at the infusion site or in response to the intralipid solution could potentially occur.
  • Gastrointestinal Discomfort: Some patients might experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, following intralipid infusion. These symptoms are typically mild and transient.
  • Blood Lipid Changes: Intralipid is a lipid-based emulsion, and in some cases, there might be minor changes in blood lipid levels after infusion. While these changes are usually temporary and not considered harmful, individuals with pre-existing lipid disorders should be monitored closely.
  • Immunomodulation Uncertainties: The immunomodulatory effects of intralipids are not fully understood. There is debate within the medical community regarding their impact on fertility outcomes. Some argue that excessive immunosuppression might be counterproductive, potentially compromising the body’s natural defense mechanisms.

 

Benefits of Intralipid IVF:

  • Immune System Regulation: One of the primary proposed benefits of intralipid infusion is its potential to modulate the immune system. In cases where elevated natural killer (NK) cell activity or immune dysregulation is suspected to contribute to implantation failure or recurrent pregnancy loss, intralipids may help regulate immune responses and create a more receptive environment for embryo implantation.
  • Improved Implantation: By potentially reducing NK cell cytotoxicity and creating an anti-inflammatory environment, intralipids might enhance the chances of successful embryo implantation. This could lead to higher pregnancy rates in patients with a history of implantation failure.
  • Enhanced Pregnancy Maintenance: Intralipids’ purported immune-modulating effects might extend to pregnancy maintenance by reducing the risk of immune-related miscarriages. This benefit is particularly relevant in cases where the immune system’s responses could pose a threat to the developing embryo.

 

Intralipid Infusion Done Before or After Embryo Transfer?

Intralipid infusion is typically administered at specific points in the IVF process to optimize its potential benefits.

  • Before Embryo Transfer: Intralipid infusion is commonly performed before embryo transfer. This timing allows the immunomodulatory effects of the solution to establish a favorable uterine environment, potentially improving the chances of successful embryo implantation.
  • During Early Pregnancy: In certain cases, a second infusion of intralipids might be administered during the early stages of pregnancy. This continuation of therapy aims to sustain the positive effects of the treatment during the critical period of embryo implantation and initial pregnancy development.

 

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    Dr Mona Dahiya

    Dr Mona Dahiya

    IVF Specialist & Consultant

    Dr Mona Dahiya has performed over 5,000+ IVF cycles and is considered a global expert in IVF, ICSI, IUI and male fertility treatment. She is an eminent writer on Infertility Treatment and has over 100 Publications in both International and National Journals. Dr Mona Dahiya has immensely contributed to the field of infertility through her Research and articles.

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