Reproductive Health Center, Tucson, Arizona

Endometrial scratching

Can endometrial scratching increase the chances of pregnancy? – fertility clinic Scottsdale area

We’re always looking for techniques that will increase the chances that our patients will have the pregnancy that they’re dreaming of. Lately, a simple technique called endometrial scratching has been making headlines, because studies have shown that it can double the pregnancy rates in women undergoing an intrauterine insemination (IUI).

What is endometrial scratching? – fertility clinic Scottsdale area

After an embryo is formed (whether inside of the woman’s body or in a fertility lab), it must then implant into the uterine lining (endometrium) in order to achieve a pregnancy. The embryo burrows through the outer layers of the endometrium. Embryonic tissue begins the process of forming the placenta, which will allow the baby to receive oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s blood system as the baby grows. When embryos are being placed into the uterus during the IVF process, whether or not the mother gets pregnant will be determined by whether or not the embryo is able to implant successfully. Pregnancies caused by IUI or ovulation induction also require successful implantation.

For endometrial scratching, a small injury is made to the lining of the uterus, around the time the embryo will begin trying to implant. (The recommended time frame is about day 21 of a natural menstrual cycle, or about a week before an embryo transfer.) The procedure is essentially the same as an endometrial biopsy, in which a small piece of endometrium is removed to be examined for a diagnosis. However, in this case, the goal is not to examine the endometrium, but simply to cause that small injury. There is some discomfort associated with the procedure, but it can usually be managed by taking over-the-counter pain medications prior to and after the endometrial scratch procedure.

Does endometrial scratching work?

Endometrial scratching has been used for years to increase pregnancy rates for women undergoing both IUI and IVF. The available research favors endometrial scratching as a technique for improving pregnancy rates. Trials of endometrial scratching in women undergoing IVF have shown that it improves pregnancy rates, particularly in women who have had previous IVF failures. In one recent review, endometrial scratching doubled the rates of pregnancy in women undergoing an IUI.

Researchers would like more and better evidence that endometrial scratching significantly improves pregnancy rates. However, given that this is a simple technique with a low cost, the current record may be enough for many women to undergo endometrial scratching.

Why does endometrial scratching work?

Scientists aren’t sure exactly why endometrial scratching has a beneficial effect on pregnancy rates. It could be due to the inflammation from the scratch, which brings additional blood flow to the area. That extra blood flow could make it easier for the embryo to achieve the connection to the mother’s circulatory system that it needs. The scratch also causes the body to bring hormones and other substances into the area, which could also improve the chances that the embryo will successfully implant.

Fertility clinic Scottsdale area

We’re committed to our patients at our fertility clinic Scottsdale area. We aim to offer every technique that could improve the chances of conception for our families. Although technology is powerful, we also recognize the vital importance of holistic fertility care. We see everyone who visits our clinic as our own family, and we’ll do whatever it takes to help you have your baby.

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