Last week we found out about Embryo Glue, Intralipid Therapy and Endometrial Scratch. We are members of a closed Facebook group formed by our surrogacy agency – Canadian Fertility Consulting, and read a post from a fellow Australian woman who is engaging in surrogacy to have a child. A few of her embryo transfers have failed and she is now left with a couple of healthy embryos which she is worried that she may lose them to failed transfers as well. It is very stressful. She highlighted that now the IVF clinic, CReATe Fertility Clinic (which happens to be the same as the one we chose to work with) is suggesting to her that she should consider embryo glue and intralipid therapy to increase the chances of getting the embryos to ‘stick’ to the uterus. After a few comments on her post from various people, we found out that there is another treatment called endometrial scratch. What are these things?!
Here are some brief explanations:
Despite its name, embryo glue isn’t really a glue at all. It’s a specially developed solution that contains, among other things, high levels of a substance called hyaluronan, also known as hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronan occurs naturally in the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Studies have shown that it makes secretions from these organs stickier, aiding fertilisation and implantation. Embryo glue mimics those uterine secretions. On the embryo transfer day, the embryos are dipped into the ‘glue’. Then they’re placed in the uterus. The adhesive effect of the medium may help the embryos stick to the endometrium. Read more here.
Since the 1960s, intralipids have been fed intravenously to patients to boost nutrition after operations. Premature babies get them too. A blend of soya bean oil, egg yolk, glycerin and water, intralipids infuse your body with calories. Some doctors think natural killer (NK) cells in the body attack embryos and that intralipids stop that happening. A typical course of IVF intralipid treatment is two infusions: the first one 7 to 10 days before the scheduled egg retrieval; the second on the embryo transfer day. Some clinics propose a third infusion after a positive pregnancy test and monthly ones till the 20-week mark. Read more here.
Best described as being similar to a smear test, an endometrial scratch involves a quick scrape of the womb lining at a certain point in the cycle. The promising research suggests it could improve embryo implantation, especially if one had failed IVF attempts before. A woman can have a scratch before fertility treatment with her own own eggs, donor eggs or frozen embryos. Endometrial scratching seems to provoke a reaction within the inner lining of the womb. Hormones and chemicals are released to help the lining repair itself. A genetic trigger response to an endometrial scratch may give the implantation ‘green light’. In essence, the temporary injury seems to make the endometrium more receptive to an embryo. That means a better chance of a pregnancy and a live birth. Read more here.
Because we were interested in these new findings, I found it very strange that the IVF clinic did not promote these ‘extras’ to increase the chances of pregnancy. So I asked the questions and I got this back from our nurse coordinator at the IVF Clinic.
(The doctor) believes that the Embryo glue and Intralipid could in fact assist in favorable transfer outcomes however he wouldn’t necessarily suggest them first go. Saying this; some patients request to have these procedures done with the first transfer and that is perfectly fine and definitely doesn’t hurt. EmbryoGlue is created to mimic the conditions in the female uterus in order to help embryos implant after transfer. With Intralipid therapy, studies have shown that when administered intravenously, it may enhance implantation and maintenance of pregnancy. They both do come at an added cost though. Intralipid is $330 CAN and EmbryoGlue is $520 CAN. I’m not sure about the endometrial scratching. It’s not something I’ve seen too often here. I can find out for you though.
I think we may consider one or two of these new findings, but not entirely sure about them yet. Something to think about, I guess.