IVF failure linked to genetic pattern in the womb



IVF failure linked to genetic profile of the womb. Credit: Wikimedia commons

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures have often been the answer to the prayers of many couples.  In IVF, the egg from the female and the sperm from the male is fertilized in the laboratory (in vitro) and after growing this fertilized embryo for a short period, it is implanted into the womb of the female.

Even though IVF is routinely and widely carried out, there are high chances of failure even with good quality embryos. Therefore, fertility experts have been studying the role of various factors in IVF failure.

Experts from the University of Southhampton and Netherlands in their recently published study in Scientific Reports  claim that they have identified a specific genetic pattern in the womb that could predict whether or not IVF treatment is likely to be successful.

Study co-lead Professor Nick Macklon, chair in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Southampton, said, “the discovery would help clinicians understand why IVF fails repeatedly in some women.” Also, he is of the opinion that this finding could lead to the development of a new test to help patients understand how likely they are to achieve a pregnancy before they embark on the treatment process – and to guide others on whether or not they should continue even after a number of unsuccessful cycles.

Patients at the University Medical Center Utrecht between 2006 and 2007 and at both Utrecht and the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam between 2011 and 2013 were recruited for the study. The biopsies of the lining of the womb of 43 women with recurrent implantation failure and of 72 women who gave birth after IVF or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) were obtained.

Detailed analysis of these biopsies showed that an abnormal gene profile was present in the womb lining of 80% women with recurrent IVF failure. This was also seen to be absent in the case of women who gave birth after IVF.

Professor Frank Holstege, head of the genomics laboratory at University Medical Center Utrecht, said, “What this tells us is that a large proportion of women who suffer recurrent implantation failure may be infertile due to a problem with the receptivity of their uterus. Their chances of achieving successful pregnancy are likely to be very small and this information gives clinicians much more clarity in counselling patients as to the wisdom of investing further time, effort and money in ongoing treatment. At the same time, those patients who have undergone a number of unsuccessful cycles of IVF but do not have the genetic pattern could be advised to persist as they have a much better chance of achieving a pregnancy.”

Professor Macklon also added, “While we believe this finding to be a very significant development in international fertility research, the next stage is to trial it as a clinical test to study its effectiveness on a wider scale.”

Source: University of Southhampton

The original publication can be accessed here.



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