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Dietary supplement works for some, not for others

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Knight Ridder Newspapers


SAN JOSE, Calif. - Some couples trying to have a baby won't care that a Stanford researcher holds stock options in a company whose infertility treatment she studied, a possible conflict of interest.

What they'll want to know is: Does it work?

The answer isn't entirely clear.

Two scientific studies suggest the remedy has helped some women get pregnant.

But the studies were both very small, with the first involving just 30 women and the second 93. In the pilot study, 27 percent of the women taking FertilityBlend got pregnant within three months, compared with none of the women taking a placebo. In the second, 32 percent became pregnant within five months, compared with 10 percent who were on a placebo.

Because FertilityBlend is a "dietary supplement," its manufacturer isn't required to conduct any tests on its effectiveness, unlike prescription drugs that are reviewed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Final studies on such pharmaceuticals, including fertility drugs, can often involve up to 3,000 patients.

Stanford researcher Mary Lake Polan said she expected the experiments would show it doesn't work. "Turned out I was wrong," she said.

"This is not hocus-pocus," Polan said.

It's still unknown exactly how the product might boost fertility. One theory is that it normalizes hormone levels and improves ovarian function.

But many women taking FertilityBlend didn't get pregnant during the experiment, and it isn't for everyone.

Women over age 35 would be better off seeking immediate medical care, Polan said. The same goes for younger women with a known medical problem, such as endometriosis, which is probably causing their infertility.

Laura Murphy, a Sunnyvale, Calif., mother of two, is thankful for FertilityBlend.

Murphy, who said she was told by a doctor she would never get pregnant, enrolled in the initial study of FertilityBlend in a last-ditch effort to have a baby.

Within four months, she learned she was pregnant.

On Nov. 7, 2001, son Ross Davies was born. Less than two years later, after taking FertilityBlend again, she gave birth to another boy, Ian.

Naysayers might insist the dietary supplement had nothing to do with it. Murphy, now 43, believes otherwise.

And, she said, "It certainly didn't hurt."


For additional information on FertilityBlend, go to or call the Daily Wellness Company toll-free at (866) 222-9862.


(c) 2005, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.). Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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