It’s long been known that correctly timing an embryo transfer is critical to the chance of achieving pregnancy. Identifying the right moment in a woman’s cycle with absolute precision remains a challenge however, contributing to low IVF success rates, which remain on average under 50%.
But now RMIT University (Australia) researchers may have found a way forward, by identifying a Teflon-like molecule that makes the surface of the womb slippery and prevents embryos from implanting. The team discovered that the levels of this molecule on the womb’s surface decrease at a certain point in the menstrual cycle. This allows the womb to become stickier, opening the “golden window” for pregnancy success.
Lead researcher Professor Guiying Nie said the team’s discovery changed long-held scientific thinking about embryo implantation. “We’ve been looking for something that helps embryos stick when the vital part of the puzzle turned out to be a slippery molecule that has the opposite effect — it prevents them from sticking,” she said.
“We hope with further development our discovery could help clinicians identify precisely when each patient has the greatest chance of achieving pregnancy, delivering fully personalized IVF treatment.” The findings, published in the journals Fertility and Sterility and Human Reproduction, could have significant implications for IVF treatment and success rates.