Could endometrial scratching boost IVF success rates? A simple scratch is capable of significantly increase, and even double, pregnancy chances through IVF, doctors believe.
Even though IVF is an assisted reproduction technique with the highest success rates among other fertility treatment, sadly, repeated IVF failures are not uncommon. In some cases failed IVF treatments could be due to some defect of the endometrium. More specifically, sometimes, even if a woman’s fertilized eggs are of optimum quality, the receptivity of the uterine lining (endometrium) might not be as great. It is estimated that in approximately 25-30% of IVF failures the cause relates to poor endometrial receptivity.
In such cases, fertility experts can now turn to an innovative technique called endometrial scratching. Briefly, the technique involves a mechanical endometrial injury using an instrument to make small scratches on the endometrium. According to experts local injury could activate the endometrium regeneration process increasing the endometrial receptivity for the implanted embryo and as a consequence boosting success rates. Moreover, scientists believe that it might be easier for embryos to nestle in the furrows made following the endometrial scratching or injury. However, the exact mechanism underlying the method has not yet been experimentally determined.
Research findings support the efficiency of the method for women experiencing recurrent IVF failures. According to a review study published in ‘’Reproductive Medicine Online’’ this technique increased success rates by 70% for a study population of about 2000 women with recurrent implantation failures.
Results from the latest study conducted at Ankara University and published in “Fertility and Sterility journal”, are equally encouraging. For the study, researchers collected data from 114 women aged <40 who had experienced at least 2 IVF failures. Women who had endometrial scratching along with the standard IVF treatment had their success rates almost doubled. More specifically 38% of them got pregnant following IVF compared with 20% of women who did not have the endometrial scratching. These results were presented at the conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Honolulu.