The Women's Choice Center in Bettendorf says it is the first pregnancy center in the Midwest offering progesterone treatments to attempt to reverse the abortion pill.
"An attempted reversal for the RU-486 or whats called the medical abortion," said Vicki Tyler, Executive Director of the Women's Choice Center.
The abortion pill is a two step process. A woman takes the abortion pill, known as Mifepristone. The pill blocks the progesterone hormone. Without that hormone, the lining of the uterus breaks down and the pregnancy can't go on. 24 to 48 hours later, the woman takes a second medicine that cause the uterus to empty. The reversal treatment the Women's Choice Center offers-- a pill and possibly some injections--is supposed to be taken after the first abortion pill.
The center's medical director, Moline OB/GYN Dr. Karla Polaschek, learned about the treatment from the doctors that developed it.
"Both of them have developed this progesterone treatment as a way to override the system, if we can say it that simply. Where it fills the body with progesterone treatment and that overrides the blocking agent of the first pill to prevent nutrients from coming to the baby. By overriding that, the nutrients can then get to the baby, but it has to be done in a 72-hour time," said Tyler.
The Women's Choice Center offers progesterone capsules.
According to Tyler, the treatments started nationwide on May 20, 2012. In 2012, five women received the treatment. In 2013, there were 228 calls for the treatment, 84 of those took the progesterone treatment. So far, there have been 58 healthy babies born to mothers treated after starting a medical abortion.
"Right now we are the only center in the entire Midwest," said Tyler.
"I just heard about it yesterday and it is based on one very small study published in a minor medical journal, and there's no other literature, medical literature about any human work on this," said Dr. Jeffrey Maurus, an OB/GYN at Edgerton Women's Health Center.
"In this study of six women, in the only study in the world published, in women who immediately regretted taking the Mifepristone, but had not yet taken the Misoprostol and were given progesterone this seemed to prevent the abortion from happening and they went on to have, in four women, normal vaginal birth. Two women did not and I actually don't know the outcome of those two women," said Maurus.
And though he says the treatment may not cause any harm,
"I can't imagine there are very many women who went to the point of taking Mifepristone and then immediately decided they wished they hadn't and sought out this service. If they do, it's probably something that is safe to do and may be effective, but I can't as a scientist, I cant jump into a study of six people as the only study in the whole world that's ever done about it. It may lead to more studies," said Maurus.
So far, one woman has contacted the Women's Choice Center about the treatment since they started offering it November 17, 2014. She did not follow through with the treatment.