CU part of fertility study that could affect millions of women

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AURORA, Colo. -- University of Colorado Hospital is part of a fertility study that could affect millions of women.

Researchers began work in 2009 and results prove promising for women having a difficult time getting pregnant.

CU’s Advance Reproductive Medicine is one of seven research hospitals that completed the four-year-study to help women with an infertility problem that affects 1-in-10, or 6.1 million women.

For one Denver couple, it’s meant finally having the family they always wanted.

"We tried for five years, right after we got married, a year after we got married.’Yah, it's time,'" says drug study participant Jessica Edwards.

But little did she and her husband Orlando Edwards know a time of what should be great anticipation was filled with frustration.

"It was definitely wearing for one year,” says Jessica. “We came to the conclusion, if it happens, it happens," says Orlando.

Then, in 2011, they got into the drug trial at CU testing a drug used primarily for breast cancer called Letrozole that increases ovulation for women with polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS.

"The fertility breakthrough we found is a 45-percent increase of pregnancy rates found in women that took Letrozole, compared with the gold standard which is Clomiphene or Clomid," says Dr. Ruben Alvero, director of CU’s Advanced Reproductive Medicine.

"We started and two months in, we got pregnant. So very quick," says a beaming Jessica.

Today, the Edwards are proud parents of 2-and-a-half year old Lilla—an energetic, bright and inquisitive little girl—who on our visit to their Green Valley Ranch home was singing, jumping, reading, riding her Radio Flyer, doing summersaults and saying her ABC’s.

Her family owes it all to Letrozole.

"Realizing, realizing that what we went through, what we did to have her, she's a miracle," she says.

"You come home sad and you see her, you're happy. She's always so happy," says Orlando.

And it makes the Edwards happy knowing Letrozole is on the market ready to expand their family—which started as two, and happily grew to three.

"Very grateful. We wouldn't have our daughter without it," says Jessica.

Doctors say Letrozole also has fewer side effects than Clomid.

Initially, there were concerns it could have ill effects on the developing baby. But the study showed the rate of abnormalities was lower than women who conceive naturally.