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Research gives hope to IVF couples
10:40am Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
SOUTHAMPTON fertility experts have offered hope to childless couples after groundbreaking research revealed that a “choosy uterus” can prevent pregnancy.
The discovery by the University of Southampton shows that the uterus can detect a poor quality embryo and will take action to ensure that it does not embed in the lining.
It is hoped the breakthrough in understanding how the uterus works will open new avenues to develop new treatments to improve the success rate of IVF for couples desperate to start a family.
Getting embryos to implant is still one of the biggest problems in IVF so this research is a huge boost to experts trying to help couples get pregnant.
Professor Nick Macklon, professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the university, who co-led the research, said: “One in six couples will experience some sort of infertility, which can be both frustrating and daunting, and many will turn to IVF.
“But the big problem in IVF is still the low chance of getting embryos to implant. These new insights into how an endometrium chooses an embryo may open new avenues to develop new treatments for this.”
The research revealed that if the embryo quality is poor, the endometrium will subdue a large number of the genes that are involved in determining whether the embryo is accepted.
This results in the embryo being left to disintegrate and the cycle starts again.
Professor Macklon, who is also director of the Complete Fertility Centre, based at the Princess Anne Hospital, said: “Our research has shown that one of the signals which the uterus picks up on in determining the quality of the embryo is the level of trypsin it gives off.
“The lack of trypsin signals appear to indicate to the endometrium that the embryo’s quality is not very high and initiates a reduction in receptivity to implantation.”
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