Embryonic Chatter Discovery Could Lead To Improved Fertility Treatment Options
Scientists from Southampton and Warwick universities have determined that the level of a specific chemical, trypsin
Glasgow (I-Newswire) September 23, 2013 - Scientists from Southampton and Warwick universities have determined that the level of a specific chemical, trypsin, needs to be present in an embryo in order for the lining of the uterus to consider it a healthy embryo. It has long been known that the uterus is able to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy embryos but it was unclear exactly how this was done. It is hoped that the discovery will lead to new and improved fertility treatment options that can help couples get pregnant.
Once an embryo is fertilised, it will travel to the uterus walls in the hope of attaching to the walls and growing. However, unhealthy embryos are rejected by the body and it has never been clear what determines whether an embryo will be accepted or not. However, researchers from two universities have discovered that the level of trypsin that is found in the embryo is used by the uterus wall as an indicator of how healthy the embryo is and how likely it will be to prove successful.
It is hoped that the findings will lead to many discoveries regarding pregnancy and especially regarding IVF and fertility treatment. One area where it could prove especially useful is in dealing with recurrent miscarriage. It is believed that, in some instances, the woman miscarries regularly because she is super-fertile - the uterus does not know which embryos to reject and therefore accepts too many, including those that are not healthy enough and eventually lead to miscarriage. This could be counteracted using trypsin levels.
Another area that has been identified as having potential is in determining which embryos are giving off the right signal before implanting them back in the mother. If it worked, this would help ensure that implanted embryos had a greater chance of leading to successful pregnancy and it could reduce the fail rate while increasing the success rate of fertility treatment like IVF. This theory has yet to be tested, however, and Prof Siobhan Quenby of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said that the discovery is exciting but the challenge lies in finding out how to turn the information into a viable form of treatment or addition to existing treatment options.
Recently, one group of Belgium researchers said that they have found a way of drastically reducing the amount that IVF would cost. Using lower priced equipment would mean that the cost of IVF treatment would be reduced from several thousands of pounds to £300 or less. The researchers said that their techniques could be used to cut the cost of IVF to around 15% of its current Western level.
There are many fertility treatment options available to would-be parents that are struggling to conceive or carry a pregnancy through to term. IVF has been used successfully for more than 30 years and improvements are being made on a regular basis. Discovering how to determine which embryos have the greatest chance of fertilisation and acceptance by the uterus could help further increase the 30% pregnancy rates that IVF currently attracts.
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Published in:Health & Fitness
Published On:September 23, 2013
Print Release:Print Release
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