Studies Offer More Hope for Successful IVF 

There are two topics that have been in the news lately that are contributing to the success of in vitro fertilization and offer hope for many couples.

The first is egg freezing, also known as oocyte vitrification. The egg freezing process has just had its "experimental" label lifted by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The research in India has discovered advances in egg-freezing techniques now produce rates of pregnancy and healthy babies comparable to those of IVF with fresh eggs.If a woman has a male partner and wants to conserve her fertility for the future, embryo freezing is the first option. But if a woman is under 40, with a normal FSH hormone level and normal AMH — and cannot or does not want to conceive now either due to medical reasons, lack of a male partner or other personal reasons such career, travel or education — then egg freezing may offer her the best chance for having a genetic child that she otherwise might not have had.Once the eggs are frozen, they will remain that way until the woman selects to have them thawed and fertilized in preparation for an embryo transfer. In my fertility practice, currently, a woman ideally must be less than 50 years old to have embryos transferred in an attempt to concieve.

It is also extremely important that women who are undergoing cancer treatment that could potentially damage their fertility be aware of the option of egg freezing. In order for a woman who has cancer not to avoid her potentially life-saving treatment, we offer expedited, targeted care at a discounted rate for egg freezing prior to that treatment.Recently, another study by British researchers — “Local endometrial injury and IVF outcome: a systematic review and meta-analysis” — was published in the journal Reproductive Medicine Online. Researchers did a retrospective review of studies on endometrial biopsy — also known as “womb scratching” — and discovered that women who undergoes this process prior to in vitro fertilization (IVF) are twice as likely to become pregnant.Endometrial biopsy scratching is a gentle endometrial injury that is caused by scratching the woman’s uterine lining several weeks prior to the embryo transfer. It is done with a flexible catheter that is inserted through the cervical canal and scratches the endometrial tissue.How does womb scratching work? The theory is that endometrial biopsy produces an inflammatory reaction with increased white blood cells that secrete growth factors and cytokines, which are essential for proper implantation. Howeverin India, the exact reasons why this process may aid in successful IVF are not completely known.

In my fertility practice, I use endometrial biopsy “scratching” for women who have good embryo quality, but have failed IVF. With this process, I have had successes, and patients have gone on to have a successful pregnancy and birth after IVF failures.