We might finally know why some women fail to get pregnant even through IVF. It might have something to do with the genetic makeup of their uterus, according to recent research.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, a study by researchers from the University of Southampton in the U.K. has uncovered a specific gene signature in the womb of some women. This gene might be the reason why some women can’t get pregnant even with a healthy embryo.
IVF or in vitro fertilization is a fertility treatment where doctors implant an already fertilized egg into a woman’s womb. It’s still unclear why some IVF treatments fail.
It’s common place for couples to go through several rounds of expensive IVF treatments before having a successful pregnancy. In fact, the success rate for it in women under 35 years old is only at 41%.
With this new research, and the discovery of the special gene signature, women and their partners can be spared the heartache of trying over and over again for a treatment that won’t ever work. On the other hand, women who unsuccessfully gone through the treatment can be encouraged to try again when they find out they don’t have the gene.
The study involved analyzing biopsies of 150 women; of which 72 had successfully given birth via IVF and 43 had recurrent implantation failure. This is when three or more transfers, or perhaps 10 or more embryos, have failed to result in pregnancy.
Results showed that 80% of women with recurrent implantation failure had an abnormal gene profile in the lining of their womb which was not present in the women who had successful treatments.
“We have now shown that an abnormal gene expression in the lining can be identified in many of these women and that a specific gene 'fingerprint', when present, is always associated with failure, which is very significant in aiding our understanding of IVF failure,” said co-author Nick Macklon, Ph. D., chair in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Southampton.
So how does this translate to the real world? It will save women the time, expense and heartache of going through IVF treatments when a test, based on this study, can predict its success or failure.
“While we believe this finding to be a very significant development in international fertility research, the next stage is to trial it as a clinical test to study its effectiveness on a wider scale,” Macklon said.
More and more babies are being born though IVF in recent times compared to before. This is because IVF has given women with troubles conceiving a better chance at being mothers. A report released early last year by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) showed that there were 1,000 more American babies born through IVF in 2013 than in 2012.
Source: January 22, 2016. "Fertility experts identify genetic pattern in womb linked to IVF failure" (sciencedaily.com)