Endometrial scratch is a technique that is used during fertility treatments to improve the chance of achieving a pregnancy.
A fine sterile plastic tube is passed through the cervix into the endometrial cavity and gentle suction is applied to “scratch” the endometrium. The procedure is undertaken in the outpatient clinic.
The test may cause some period-type pain and it is not unusual to have some spotting after the procedure. It is advised that a patient undergoing the procedure takes some paracetamol or Ibuprofen 1-2 hours beforehand.
The test is best performed around day 21 in the cycle before treatment commences. For patients who have an irregular cycle, Cheshire Fertility will advise when is best to perform the procedure.
How does scratching help implantation?
Research and clinical studies suggests that scratching the uterine lining causes a ‘repair reaction’ which may increase embryo implantation rates:
- The repair process releases growth factors, hormones and chemicals. The new lining which grows after the procedure is thought to be more receptive to an implanting embryo and so increases the chances of pregnancy.
- ‘Gene switching’ – scientists believe that the genes which are responsible for implantation of embryos are sometimes not ‘switched on’ during the time when embryos are supposed to implant. Endometrial scratching may ‘switch on’ the genes that are responsible for preparation of the endometrium for implantation, which increases the chances of pregnancy.