It gets difficult for couples to cope up when IVF is unsuccessful. However, there are many of them that have unsuccessful IVF cycles. Such couples are also on the quest for alternate techniques that could help them to conceive. One such technique that can be used is endometrial scratching. Though the name suggests a procedure as something that can be uncomfortable, the question is whether it is effective and helps successful conception.
Endometrial Scratching Treatment – What is it?
This is a procedure that is used so that embryos can be implanted successfully after IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) or ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection) treatment. The technique is used in the case of those individuals that have had multiple unsuccessful IVF attempts, in spite of the fact that the embryos have been of good quality.
This is actually a type of biopsy, with the procedure being used to take a sample of the endometrial lining or the lining of the woman’s uterus. The endometrium sample is taken using a pipe or a thin catheter passed via the cervix. The patients are given a painkiller before the procedure. However, they are not administered any anesthetic. The pain was reported in over 6 cases out of 10 during endometrial scratching in a study that was conducted. It is possible to conduct an endometrial biopsy at the same time that a hysteroscopy is being done.
The best time to have endometrial scratch is in the week just before the start of the IVF or during the frozen embryo transfer cycle (FET cycle) otherwise called the luteal phase. This is the week that comes just after ovulation and a few days before the woman’s next menstruation period. In case the menstrual periods do not occur regularly, the fertility specialist will provide the couple with requisite guidance on the matter.
Endometrial Scratching Treatment – How Does It Improve Chances of Conception
It is purported that the process of endometrial scratching might actually trigger a repair cycle in the uterine lining and the new lining being formed may be more receptive to embryo implantation, thus increasing the chance of conception. It is also purported that the rates of implantation may be improved because of the act of the responsible genes being activated as a result of the scratching procedure. However, these are only hypotheses at present and require further research and investigation.
The Endometrial Biopsy Procedure
The biopsy is carried out in the luteal phase of the woman’s menstrual cycle prior to the treatment. This procedure is usually carried out around the 21st day of the cycle. This procedure is carried out in the theatre by a qualified doctor. The patient is prescribed an analgesic 1 or 2 hours prior to the procedure. The analgesic prescribed may be either ibuprofen or diclofenac.
The length of the procedure is only about 15 minutes. However, the procedure may be mildly painful and uncomfortable. In some cases, it may happen that there is slight bleeding after the procedure. The doctor is likely to prescribe antibiotics for specific cases after completion of the procedure. It is also important that the patient must not be pregnant when this procedure is carried out. The physical procedure may be harmful to the embryo during the period of early pregnancy.
The patient has to sign a consent form (confirming that there has been no unprotected sex during the menstrual cycle) before the procedure and also has to bring a partner/friend who will help to escort them back to their home.
Endometrial Scratching Treatment – Who is it Suitable for?
Endometrial Scratching is not recommended as the first line of treatment after unsuccessful IVF attempts. This is because, firstly, there is no conclusive evidence that points to the benefits of the procedure and, secondly, the procedure is painful, bears additional costs and is uncomfortable. However, it is recommended in those cases where the patient has experienced two unsuccessful IVF attempts and wants to try out something new that will help them to conceive.
If you are a candidate and looking out for endometrial scratching in Mumbai, you can get in touch with our fertility specialists in IVF Spring Fertility Center, fix an appointment and find out the treatment plan that suits you best. For patients who have had unsuccessful IVF attempts from other clinics, we would start the consultation with a complete review of their medical history and previous cycles. For any further clarifications on the matter please feel free to contact us right away.