European scientists have discovered a simple way to improve infertility treatment in the future. The results of the study, published in Human Reproduction, can be used in precision medicine to account for the variability in each female patient’s menstrual cycle. This personalized approach will first and foremost benefit those couples who have experienced repeated IVF failure, the researchers claim.
The paper has been highlighted by the editor-in-chief of Human Reproduction, meaning that it is considered to be a remarkable improvement in this field.
Female infertility can be caused by problems with endometrial (the inner uterine lining) receptivity. In natural conception the developing embryo can “sit and wait” until the endometrium matures to peak receptivity. But in IVF treatment it is critically important to transfer the embryo on the correct day to increase the chances of pregnancy. Different methods are used to assess endometrial receptivity, the most accurate of which is a test measuring the expression patterns of different genes in an endometrial biopsy.
This study is based on the well-known fact that the inner uterine lining consists of several different cell types. Previous studies have not considered the effect of cell type proportions on endometrial gene expression profiles. This novel approach makes gene expression profile analysis more specific, thus also improving the performance of tests based on gene expression patterns.
The researchers say these results have immediate practical value, and the research team is currently working on how to integrate these findings into a genetic test that is used in infertility treatment clinics to select the best day for embryo transfer.