When evaluating treatment options for unexplained infertility, many doctors move quickly to in vitro fertilization (IVF) protocols. We have become so conditioned by mainstream thought leadership on pregnancy, that the public assumes this is the correct course of action. Popular assumptions also focus on typical infertility causes such as low sperm count or poor sperm motility in men, and blocked fallopian tubes or endometriosis in women.
However, new research findings to consider during the early stages of infertility diagnosis and prior to IVF treatment suggest that answers may lie in human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) testing and treatment. So why has HHV-6 become a game changer in infertility treatment?
The importance of HHV-6 in infertility
In recent years as we grappled with the birth defects caused by Zika virus, viral infections and pregnancy outcomes came under the spotlight, sparking new interest into the role of viruses in infertility and pregnancy. This interest in viruses resulted in a recent study published in PLOS Pathogens showing that HHV-6 was present in 43% of women presenting with unexplained infertility (Marci R, et al, 2016). Such a statistically significant finding has led doctors to consider a different infertility protocol. Indeed it justifies the use of HHV-6 testing and subsequent anti-viral treatment as an early treatment priority.
The main problem caused by HHV-6 is this: When there is HHV-6A infection in the endometrium, it leads to an abnormal NK cell and cytokine profiling. This will in turn lead to a uterine environment that is not compatible with implantation.
HHV-6 is associated with spontaneous abortions, gestational hypertension and premature births. Unfortunately for many around the world, the virus is not successfully detected by standard blood tests. Even “whole blood quantitative testing” is not sufficient to detect HHV-6 in these cases.
Fortunately, facilities like Coppe Laboratories in the US are taking the lead on providing sensitive and effective testing of uterine epithelial cells from infertile women. The testing method used by Coppe Laboratories, called TRAc-6, is not commercially available from any other facility in the US – so it is essential to ensure that your doctor liaise with them specifically, or that you contact their laboratory directly.
Going the extra mile with proper HHV-6 testing:
As discussed, traditional blood tests simply are not enough. As this new phenomenon is creating a challenge for many women, it is prudent to opt for the most reliable testing available. Coppe Laboratories’ TRAc-6 testing is an advanced method that can distinguish between active and latent HHV-6 infections. Their sample requirements for an endometrial biopsy are quite straight forward and accessible to anyone. Sample collection kits can be ordered directly from the lab. Families and patients can approach Coppe directly here: http://www.coppelabs.com/for-patients-families/
More about Coppe Laboratories:
Dr. Konstance Knox (Ph.D.) is the CEO. She is a world renowned virologist who has been working with human herpesviruses for more than 30 years. The lab is based in Wisconsin but is accepting and handling tests for patients from all around the world.
Research has shown that a prudent early step in diagnosing unexplained infertility should involve HHV-6 testing. Making sure that the virus does not go undetected is a matter of access to the most up to date testing available. It would seem that an authority like Dr. Knox has the experience and resources to give patients the best opportunity to deal with this challenge effectively. Make sure your doctor is using up-to-date, advanced testing to ensure the best outcome.
Photo by Guy F. Wicke