EmbryoGlue is a relatively new product that has had some exciting results in terms of improving IVF success rates.
Produced by a company called Vitrolife, EmbryoGlue works by helping with implantation. Essentially, the embryo is immersed briefly in the EmbryoGlue, coating its surface, before transfer: results suggest that it helps embryos ‘stick’ more successfully in the uterus, hence the name.
Of course, it’s more complicated than that. EmbryoGlue is a sophisticated transfer medium containing the carbohydrates and amino acids needed to support the embryo during this crucial phase. But it also has a high concentration of hyaluronic acid (HA), which is found naturally in the fallopian tubes, the oviduct and the uterus. Significantly, the synthesis of hyaluronan in natural conception increases dramatically on the day of implantation, falling off again significantly the day after, suggesting that it is important for implantation.
‘The advantage of EmbryoGlue is that it mimics what we believe happens in the human body naturally,’ explains the Agora’s embryologist, Damian Pike. ‘In normal IVF, the egg never goes near the fallopian tubes, whereas in natural conception they play an important role. The fronds and fingers at the end of the fallopian tube collect the egg and waft it towards the waiting sperm. Little hair-like structures in the fallopian tube then brush the fertilised egg towards the uterus for implantation.’
We don’t yet understand exactly how hyaluronan aids implantation. Some research suggests that it assists cell proliferation, while other studies indicate it helps cells become more ‘sticky’ or adhesive. We do know that the viscose EmbryoGlue readily diffuses with the viscose uterine secretion and brings the embryo into close contact with the endometrium. It is thought the hyaluronan may link the receptor molecules of the embryo and the endometrium together, tightening the contact between the two, but more research is needed to understand exactly how HA works.
But the good news is that, by mimicking the body’s natural fluids, EmbryoGlue appears to be helping women to become parents. And that’s why we’re delighted to be able to offer it to our clients at The Agora.
To find out more about how our fertility experts can help you, call us on 01273 229410