Boston IVF, a medical practice centre providing specialised infertility treatment, has introduced the first needle-free saliva test that will replace the daily blood tests required to monitor infertility treatment.

Following nearly two years of research, the company has found that the hormone estradiol, traditionally measured in the blood, can also be accurately measured in saliva, eliminating the need for daily blood testing during a patient’s treatment cycle. Research conducted at Boston IVF demonstrated that hormone levels found in saliva correlate with the hormone levels in the blood, and further developed laboratory procedures, assays and the collection process.

Boston IVF medical director Michael Alper said that based on the new technology developed in the laboratory, physicians can accurately monitor a patient’s hormone response to therapy and manage treatment without requiring invasive blood work. "Infertility treatment can be very stressful and physically demanding for patients. By replacing daily blood draws with a very simple, patient-friendly saliva test, we can eliminate some of the challenges and painful needle sticks and make treatment more convenient.

"Our patients are very excited about saliva testing, as it saves them time, is more convenient and eliminates the anxiety and discomfort that we all know to be associated with blood draws.They now simply drop off their saliva sample in the morning on their way to work, and we call them in the afternoon with their results," he added.

A typical in vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycle includes eight to 12 days of hormone therapy to stimulate a woman’s egg production, seven blood draws to measure estradiol levels and requires hormone therapy to stimulate the production of eggs in the ovaries. The company said by measuring female hormone levels, including estradiol, clinicians can monitor a patient’s response to therapy.

Currently, saliva testing is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and is already used in other areas of medicine, such as measuring the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.