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Extreme Antibiotics as Infertility Treatment?

a blog by Suzanne Rico, June 12, 2012

Last month, Elle carried a story about Atilla Toth, a fertility doctor in New York who is using a controversial regimen of antibiotics to treat infertility. I’m not talking about a couple of horse pills taken for 10 days; I’m talking about months of IV antibiotics, antibiotics shot through a catheter into the cervix, and another antibiotic paste inserted into the uterus. And that’s just for the female half of the equation. The males? Well, the men suffer too. “Meanwhile,” writes Elle’s Sarah Elizabeth Richards of one woman she profiled, “every other day Toth gave her husband a painkiller and then injected antibiotics through his rectum and into his prostate; twice Toth also injected his seminal vesicles.” Yeeeeeeeowch!

Toth’s theory behind his antibiotic therapy is interesting. He believes many people have chlamydia, a bacterium that has been linked to recurrent miscarriage, premature labor, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease, without knowing it. He insists that up to a third of unexplained infertility could be caused by chlamydia. Hmmmm … my infertility was always unexplained.

Toth got his idea for treating infertility with hard core antibiotics in the 1970s from Secretariat — yes, the Kentucky Derby winning horse — after reading that Secretariat’s breeder had upped his stud successes by flushing the uteruses of the brood mares to eradicate microbacteria. Baby horses, apparently, abounded.

Atilla Toth sees about 150 couples a year with infertility, leading me to wonder, might I have tried his unorthodox medicine had I known about it back in 2006? So desperate was I to figure out the cause of my problem and attack it, the honest answer is I might have spent a year in a yurt if someone had told me that would help. But many doctors advise caution — extreme caution. Huntington Reproductive Center’s John Wilcox, M.D., is one of them.

“Infertility treatment is extremely complex,” Dr. Wilcox told me. “Infection definitely plays a role in unexplained infertility. but I believe it is unreasonable to suggest all patients benefit from eight weeks of antibiotics and observation. Dr. Toth’s approach to treating patients is unorthodox, and I am concerned patients may experience unnecessary complications from the regimen detailed in Elle magazine. Standard of care demands a more comprehensive approach to manage unexplained infertility patients.”

But those couples leaving Dr. Toth’s care with a baby in their arms say the long, rigorous, painful course of extreme antibiotics is worth it.

Follow Suzanne Rico on Twitter @suzannerico, Pinterest (Suzanne Rico), — or friend her on Facebook!

Comments (3)

I went to Dr. Toth about fourteen years ago after I'd had two miscarriages. I'd had one healthy son, and then figured age had just kicked it--I was forty-four; my doctors told me I'd been lucky to conceive at all. But one recommended Toth, and on the heels of a miscarriage at ten weeks, I went. And went again. Results: A child now thirteen, healthy, born when I was forty-five, and a third child, also healthy, eleven, born when I was 47. I recommend Dr. Toth's methods very highly and without any reservation

Health-related articles like yours should be read by everyone in existence. Currently, I fear that the trend of prescribing antibiotics for pretty much all common ailments like sinusitis will truly result in pathogens growing resistant to these medicines, and growing in to a super bug. Just cannot imagine such a scenario.

Im a patient of Dr Toth who successfully had a healthy baby naturally 2 months after his treatment. I just wanted to clarify that his treatment of IV is for 10 days and not months as stated in the article. As far as the uterine washes they are also for 10 days and done in conjunction to when you have the IV on. Afterwards, you take some oral antibiotics which depends on the condition you have. In my case in particular it was 30 days of orals and then we were able to try for a baby. At the second month I got pregnant and now have a healthy baby girl. Dr. Toth is a wonderful, caring Dr. I visited many top fertility specialists and no one knew what the problem was. He was the only one who found the problem and solved it.

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