by Sudha Bhat on  March 25, 2015 at 7:32 PM Health In Focus
Understanding Proteins Involved in Fertility Could Help Boost IVF Success
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), is an assisted reproductive technology (ART). It's a popular fertility treatment in which an egg and sperm are fertilized in a lab, and then transferred into the embryo. In this method, you have a choice whether to use your own eggs and sperm or a donor sperm and donor eggs. Women with problems getting pregnant or have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, often resort to IVF, when other methods of treatment such as fertility drugs or intrauterine insemination have been unsuccessful.

The success of IVF is dependent on many factors such as your ovarian reserve tests, reproductive history such as number of previous pregnancies, miscarriages and clinical diagnosis, among others. Scientists have conducted a study to see if proteins could help make the uterus ready for implantation of the embryo in its wall in an attempt to try and improve the IVF technique and its success rate. The results of the study are published in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research.

The scientists Chen Xu, Hu Zhou and their coworkers observed that as high as 50 million couples all over the world face various challenges and problems while trying to conceive. They willingly seek some medical help in an attempt to have a child. Even though IVF is the most common infertility treatment, statistics show that the success rate is only about one in every three pregnancy. It is stipulated that the low success rate in majority of the cases is due to the inability of the embryo to attach to the uterine walls. The reason behind this is not exactly known.

To better understand why this happens, Xu and Zhou's team studied the proteins that could play a role in this process. During the menstrual cycle, a woman's endometrium undergoes periodic changes, which are vital for increasing and developing the receptivity of the endometrium as well as for improving the competency of the uterus for embryo implantation.

Samples of the inner uterine membrane or the endometrium were collected from 12 women and studied by the scientists. The research team identified more than 2,000 proteins and found that in these proteins, the levels of more than 300 of them varied significantly depending on whether the endometrium was ready for the implantation of the embryo. 

Based on the results of the study, the scientists felt that changing the levels of some of these proteins could increase a person's chances of implanting an embryo in the uterus and thus increase the success rate of IVF methodology. Although it needs further review, the scientists felt that the findings could aid in the treatment of any diseases of the endometrium.

This is great news for women who are struggling to get pregnant; it gives them hope for their next IVF cycle. By increasing protein intake, they facilitate a healthy uterus with embryos that can implant flawlessly, thus leading to a healthy, successful pregnancy.

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