Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook




 

Womb 'entrance exam' determines whether embryos implant

17 February 2014

By Dr Shanya Sivakumaran

Appeared in BioNews 742

An 'entrance exam' set by the cells that line the womb can determine whether or not human embryos are able to implant into the womb's lining, according to researchers.

Not all embryos are viable and those that contain genetic mutations may not be able to implant, or may implant but miscarry at a later stage. Approximately 15 percent of clinically recognised pregnancies result in miscarriage and around half of early stage miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities.

The study, led by Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, shows that high quality embryos secrete a chemical called trypsin, which signals to the womb to prepare its lining and create a supportive environment in which the embryo can be implanted. Conversely, embryos that are developmentally impaired cause a stress response in the womb, which leads to rejection of the embryo.

The research was conducted using the medium that the embryos grew in, comparing a group of 40 embryos that resulted in pregnancy with a group of 49 embryos deemed as poor quality and unsuitable for transfer. The medium from these embryos was incubated with human endometrial (womb) cells and the effects on the cells were analysed.

Study co-author Professor Jan Brosens likens the implantation process to an entrance exam, explaining that 'a poorly prepared womb will either make the test too rigorous or too lax – decreasing the chances of a successful pregnancy'. If the test is too difficult, even embryos that are developmentally normal will be eliminated, and if it is too lax, abnormal embryos will be able to implant.

The researchers believe that their findings could in future be useful to those undergoing IVF, since implantation failure is one of the main reasons why IVF is unsuccessful. Knowledge of the factors which alter the implantation process may help lead to treatments that optimise implantation rates.

'What we're looking at now is how to alter the lining of the womb so it can set this entrance exam at the right level and prevent implantation failure and miscarriages', said Professor Brosens.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Herald Scotland | 07 February 2014
 
Fox News | 06 February 2014
 
Mail Online | 10 February 2014
 
EurekAlert! (press release) | 06 February 2014
 
Scientific Reports | 06 February 2014
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

16 March 2015 - by Dr Katie Howe 
A team of Spanish researchers has developed a test that could improve IVF success rates by identifying the optimal timing for embryo transfer....
09 February 2015 - by Dr Katie Howe 
Researchers have identified a biological process that may cause the failure of embryos to attach to the uterus wall during IVF, raising the possibility of future treatments...
28 April 2014 - by Dr Rachel Brown 
A protein that allows eggs and sperm to fuse together has been identified by scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge...
24 March 2014 - by Simon Hazelwood-Smith 
A study has found that women who produce fewer eggs during IVF treatment may have an increased risk of miscarriage....

02 December 2013 - by Rebecca Carr 
Time-lapse imaging has been used to track the way that cells organise themselves to form an early mouse embryo...
11 July 2013 - by Siobhan Chan 
Obese women have a much lower chance of having a baby than those with a normal BMI when using a donated egg, according to a study of almost 10,000 women...
20 May 2013 - by Emma Stoye 
A technique for monitoring embryo health could increase the chance of IVF couples having a healthy baby, according to a study from researchers at a private fertility clinic...
28 August 2012 - by John Brinsley 
Women who repeatedly reject pregnancies may be 'too good' at carrying, research indicates...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation