Does Endometrial Scratching Increase Success Rates in IVF?

IVF is a method of fertilization, when the egg and sperm is manually combined in a laboratory dish, and then the embryo is transferred to the uterus. When an IVF procedure starts, a couple or a patient expects to achieve success on the very first cycle. However, unless exceptional cases, some of the patients require several cycles to conceive healthy pregnancy.

Genetically abnormal and unhealthy embryo is the main cause for these failures as it restricts the embryo to develop into a baby. It is indeed difficult to implant an embryo, if the uterine lining is not in a perfect shape. Women who face such troubles despite having superior quality embryos have chances to get “endometrial scratching”, which is actually a “boon” as it increases the success rates. It enhances the implantation rate of the following cycle. Doctors believe that these simple scratches can double the chances of a woman having a baby. Let us see how.

does endometrial scratching increase success rates in IVF

How Does it Help?

As per research scratching the uterine lining boost the embryo implantation rate.

  • The repair procedure releases hormones, chemicals and other growth factors. The new lining that grows after the process is more receptive to the implanting embryo. Thus the chance for pregnancy is high.
  • The genes which are mainly responsible for implantation of the embryos are usually not ‘switched on’ on that particular time when the embryos are likely to implant. Endometrial scratching generally ‘switches on’ the genes that are responsible for preparing endometrium for the implantation. Thus it raises the chances of pregnancy.

What is the Procedure?

Endometrial scratching is a fast and dependable process which involves a smear test and is executed around 21st day of the menstrual cycle. The procedure is as follows:

  • A speculum is smoothly and gently inserted within the vagina so that the cervix becomes visible.
  • Clean sterile gauze is used to clean the cervix.
  • A thin supple catheter is inserted through the cervix with the intention to cause a small damage to the lining of the uterus. The gentle upwards and downwards movement of the intrauterine catheter may cause mild abdominal cramp similar to the pain a woman suffers during the menstrual cycle.
  • After the procedure is over the catheter is withdrawn. Mild bleeding may be noticed and there is nothing to worry about it as it is common.

Some women may find this process bit uncomfortable and they may experience cramp, but any medicine or sedation is not required for that.

What Precaution you Should Take after the Procedure?

After completion of the procedure, the patient must:

  • Use sanitary towel.
  • Resume normal daily activities.
  • Take normal food and drinks.
  • Take antibiotics as prescribed by doctor

Since this is a new technology and the mechanism behind this endometrial scratching is not very well understood and there are several unanswered questions but it is speculated that damaging the uterine lining releases the growth factors which in turn improves embryo implantation. It is very much beneficial for the patients having more than two failed IVF cycles. The success rate is really very high and as per studies a lot of patients are benefited after undergoing this procedure.


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