Viagra Babies?

By now, anyone who is online, reads a newspaper, or has a television knows what Viagra is -- Pfizer's brand name for sildenafil citrate, it was 1998's highly touted wonder drug, and is used to treat erectile dysfunction (also known as "impotence").

With all of the expected humor upon Viagra's release came a bit of uproar. Some insurance companies dared make the decision to cover prescriptions to treat impotence, while not providing coverage for infertility treatment or contraception.Later cameword that, for some women previously unable to carry a pregnancy to term, the "erection pill" may be an answer.

After a story in the NY Post (March 2000) by Daniel Jefferys, Dr. Geoffrey Sher of the Sher Institute of Reproductive Medicine appeared on the morning talk show circuit to discuss the birth of the "first Viagra baby". Three month old Michael Danford's mother, Rene, used Viagra under Dr. Sher's watchful eye to treat a recurring problem with her uterine lining. A too-thin lining of the uterus generally results in poor implantation or diminished embryo nourishment, leading ultimately to miscarriage. The same blood-increasing properties of Viagra that lead to penile erection in men apparently can also help create a uterine lining more receptive to pregnancy.

In the April 2000 issue of the British journal Human Reproduction, Dr. Sher presented his findings (along with co-author Jeffrey D. Fisch) from a small cohort study of women who, with the help of Viagra, have achieved the same pregnancy rate as women with healthy uteruses. Further findings about the drug's use to boost endometrial linings and increase IVF success were reported by Sher and team in Fertility & Sterility inNovember 2002.