In a specialised embryo culture medium used in In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), a glycoprotein named hyaluronan is employed to help the embryo implant into the uterus.
For pregnancy to occur, the developing embryo must implant into the lining of the uterus (endometrium). Research shows that hyaluronan plays an important role in assisting embryos to implant. Hyaluronan is a naturally occurring substance found in the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes.
The embryos that are selected for implantation are placed in a small volume of hyaluronan transfer medium. When the transfer procedure takes place, the embryos are loaded into a catheter, along with a tiny amount of the transfer medium, and released into the uterus. Hyaluronan-enriched transfer does not guarantee implantation, but may assist it.
There is some evidence to suggest that females aged over 38 show the most benefit, with a significant increase in pregnancy rates, when a transfer medium with hyaluronan is used (Balaban et al., 2004). There have also been studies indicating embryos that were frozen and thawed may have increased pregnancy rates through the use of a hyaluronan-enriched transfer medium.
Hyaluronan appears to aid implantation in several ways:
The potential fertility improvement that this type of treatment may yield depends on the woman’s age, diagnosis and the initial semen analysis, and should be discussed with your specialist.
City Fertility was one of the first clinics in Australia to introduce embryo transfer media for improved implantation. If you would like to discuss such a procedure as part of your options, please contact the City Fertility scientists or your treating specialist.
There are no known risks associated with the use of a hyaluronan transfer medium.