ERA test (Endometrial Receptivity Analysis) improves IVF implantation rates

A novel IVF test, called ERA test (Endometrial Receptivity Analysis) , that assesses the activity of genes of the womb lining seems to improve successful implantation rates according to fertility experts.

Quite often you may hear patients undergoing IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) treatment wondering what is the reason of their failed IVF attempt: ‘’my embryos are of good quality, I am healthy, yet I did not get pregnant. Why?’’. A successful IVF outcome basically depends on two major factors: the embryo quality and the environment inside the womb that will host the embryo.

ERA test - Endometrial Receptivity Analysis

ERA test is used for designating the personalized ‘’implantation window’’

So what could be wrong for women with good, genetically healthy embryos? Endometrial receptivity, fertility experts believe. The endometrium is capable of hosting an embryo only during a time specific point of a woman’s cycle, completing a successful implantation. This time period is called ‘’implantation window’’.

It was previously thought that this ‘’implantation window’’ is stable among 19th-21st day of a woman’s cycle. Recent research however reveals that for about 25% of women with good quality embryos and IVF failures the implantation window has just been transposed in time without any apparent medical cause.

Thus, with ERA test this troubling event can be overcome as it is used for designating the personalized ‘’implantation window’’ for each woman, something that no other diagnostic test could tell before. According to a pilot study, ERA test findings from 85 women who had experienced at least 5 IVF attempts failed at the implantation stage, suggest that 20-25% of embryo transfers happen sooner or later than the optimum time for successful implantation. In the past the only study available for assessing endometrial receptivity was an ultrasound scan.

Researchers of the study reported that 33% of women given the test had a successful implantation. That is significantly higher than would typically be observed for this patient population. These data suggest that ERA test can improve successful implantation and promote a positive IVF outcome by pinpointing a woman’s optimum time for embryo transfer based on the individual results obtained.

Have you been given an ERA testing prior your IVF treatment, or would you ask for it for your next IVF attempt?

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Embryo transfer media compounds boost IVF success rates

Current research suggests that specific compounds, called adherence compounds, when added into embryo transfer culture media boost IVF success rates.

Embryo transfer media compounds

Hyaluronic acid (HA), an adherence compound, can boost IVF success rates

Assisted reproductive technologies are generally considered to be successful medical procedures, but not successful enough. Couples diagnosed with infertility are commonly given an IVF (in vitro fertilisation) or ICSI (intracytoplasmisc injection) treatment. These treatments are the most successful forms of infertility treatments in IVF clinics and have similar success rates, however not successful enough given the increased demand for test-tube babies.

A great body of research is focused on studying how to boost IVF success rates while minimizing any adverse effects like multiple pregnancies. Part of this research has studied the effects of the addition of adherence compounds into the embryo transfer culture media.

Currently a scientific review analyzing 16 randomized studies on the above objective has reported that hyaluronic acid (HA), an adherence compound, can boost IVF success rates. Researchers compared embryo transfer media with different concentrations of the hyaluronic acid including high, low and no HA. As for the outcome most studies conducted their research by measuring live birth rates, pregnancy chances, implantation rates and multiple pregnancy rates. The women that took part in the studies aged 27.5-35.7 in average.

According to the review results hyaluronic acid increased IVF success rates in terms of live birth and pregnancy chances when added in the culture medium used for embryo transfer (450 vs 367). Fertility experts think that adherent compounds may actually increase the embryo potential for adhering to the uterus.

On the other hand, it was also found that the addition of the adherent compound increased chances of multiple pregnancies. Researchers argue that this result is probably linked to the number of embryos transferred by fertility doctors which quite often exceeds the 2 embryos. Thus, in such cases where more than one embryo is transferred into the womb, an adherent compound by promoting successful implantation could increase risk of a multiple pregnancy. Complementary studies investigating the outcome of using these enhanced transfer media for only single embryo transfer are necessary for optimizing these compounds’ contribution to a successful IVF outcome.

Would you risk a multiple pregnancy if it was to boost your pregnancy chances? We would be happy to receive your feedback.

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Ask for some music to boost your success rates

Have you thought about asking for some music to boost your IVF success? According to a recent study, you should!

music boost fertility

Music may actually improve success rates of In Vitro Fertilisation.

A study carried out at Marques Institute fertility clinic in Barcelona reported that music may actually improve success rates of in vitro fertilisation. In fact researchers of the Marques Institute reported an approximately 5% increase of fertilisation rates for eggs incubated under the sound of different types of music genres.

Researchers collected and analyzed approximately 1,000 eggs from 114 different patients attended the fertility clinic. Those eggs were injected with sperm and then split into two groups. The first group of eggs was incubated into an incubator connected with an iPod and a loud speaker system playing all kinds of music; from pop (Michael Jackson and Madonna to classical works by Bach Mozart and Vivaldi and even heavier metal sounds from Nirvana and Metallica. The second group of eggs was kept into conventional incubators without any music application.

Once the incubation period was completed they assessed fertilisation success rates for both group. They found that success rates were higher by 4.8% in the incubators in which music had been played.

Fertility experts explain that no matter how weird this outcome may sound it is based on scientific facts. The key factor here is the vibrations produced by music sound, as embryos cannot hear music until they grow up to 14 weeks.  Researchers believe that these vibrations may actually help the fertilized eggs remove their toxic waste products. It is also possible that vibrations could ease the nutrients passage into the egg.

According to the study researchers, music can be a way of mimicking the natural environment of the embryo. The embryo has to go a long way from the fallopian tubes all the way up to the womb keeping it in motion, experiencing a dynamic environment with vibrations that could possibly ease its waste products’ discard.

Previous research has shown that dynamic incubation could possibly promote successful embryo development so music might just be an easy way of achieving such a dynamic embryo culture.  The first IVF baby to be created in the presence of music was born in the UK just a few years ago.

So, if music can give your eggs good vibes what tunes would you want on their IVF playlist?

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10 IVF myths


Many people think of IVF as the answer to all infertility problems

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) as an infertility treatment could not but be accompanied by its fair share of myths.The contribution of IVF and generally Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in the rapidly growing field of
medical technologies and healthcare services, available for disease treatment and life quality enhancement, is undoubtedly unique.

There are studies suggesting a higher implantation rate with frozen embryo transfer

However, many people think of IVF as the answer to all infertility problems. Others believe that IVF is a treatment of high cost, affordable only for a small number of people such as business people or movie stars.

Here is a list of most commonly believed IVF myths:

Myth #1: IVF always results in multiple pregnancies like twins or higher-order multiples

FALSE: The risk for a multiple pregnancy can be decreased by reducing the number of embryos transferred, especially in young women.

Myth #2: Patients undertaking an IVF cycle have no control over the outcome of the treatment

FALSE: The success rate of an IVF cycle is highly dependent on a thorough evaluation of the couple and a careful coordination of both a medical and a scientific approach for each couple. There are a number of things IVF specialists have to deal with in order to optimize the chances of a pregnancy such as ovarian stimulation monitoring and timing of oocyte retrieval.

Myth #3: IVF is the answer to all infertility problems

FALSE: Depending on the case of infertility for each patient there are more options for treatment like Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) and ovulation induction (OI) with medications.

Myth #4: IVF is only for wealthy people

FALSE: Though the cost of IVF is not low, it is not less affordable than some major procedures like heart surgery or joint replacement.

Myth #5: IVF increases women’s fertility

FALSE: Technically, IVF does the opposite. The hormones that are taken at the beginning of a cycle are made to stop a woman’s natural fertility process. Then the next round of hormones creates a synthetic cycle for optimizing the chances of pregnancy.

Myth #6: IVF babies have a significantly high risk of birth defects and malformations

FALSE: Even though some evidence seem to indicate that there may be some increased risk for birth defects in babies born through IVF, current studies suggest that the difference in the incidence of birth defects between naturally conceived  and IVF babies is not high significant.

Myth #7: IVF requires admission in the hospital

FALSE: It does not require overnight admission.  It is an out-patient treatment.

Myth #8: IVF is the last resort for infertile couples

FALSE: IVF is only one of the options available for infertility treatment, but in cases where IVF is not applicable there are other types of Assisted Reproductive Technology that work for patients like egg donor, sperm donor or surrogate.

Myth #9: Insurance covers IVF costs

FALSE: Usually there is no fertility insurance coverage but it is advisable to check with the insurance company before starting an IVF treatment.

Myth #10: IVF is successful in all cases

FALSE: Unfortunately this is not true; IVF is successful in up to 40% of cases. Multiple factors contribute to IVF success rates including the age of the woman.

Any more IVF myths to add?

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