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IVF: New Treatment 'Boosts' Live Birth Rate
A new fertility treatment could dramatically improve a woman's chance of getting pregnant via IVF, according to researchers.
Scientists in Nottingham and Brazil claim the technique called "endometrial scratching" has improved the live birth rate by around 20%.
It involves medically administering damage to the inner lining of the womb. While it is not a new procedure, the study looks into the optimal timing for giving the procedure to a patient, shortly before fertility treatment.
Study co-author Dr Nick Raine-Fenning, from Nottingham University Research and Treatment Unit, said: "This is the first well-designed trial conducted into endometrial scratching and the results are promising.
"Other trials have provided anecdotal evidence, but these have been limited and many questioned the validity of the technique. We are now carrying out a follow up study in Nottingham to provide further guidance."
Early indications show that the Nottingham trial looks set to be even more successful that the Brazil study.
The "scratching" is given just once to women, between seven and 14 days prior to undergoing fertility treatment.
Brazilian researchers recruited 158 women, all of whom had previously undergone unsuccessful fertility procedures, and who were taking an oral contraceptive pill before the treatment began.
Some 77 of these women were picked at random and received the "scratching" procedure. Some 39 of the 77 became pregnant, and 33 cases resulted in live births.
Researchers in Brazil said the study showed that the number of live births increased from the current average of 23% to 42%.
Dr Nick Raine-Fenning said they were not sure why the procedure was working but one theory was that it was "awakening" the womb by encouraging regeneration.
"We the think with the biopsy (scratch) as simple as it is might wake the lining of the womb up by causing a little bit of damage so the womb has to regenerate itself and fix itself, hopefully in a better way."
Jo Cummings, 36, from Nottingham, underwent "endometrial scratching" in February before undergoing fertility treatment. She is now 28 weeks pregnant with her first child, a baby boy.
"The scratch itself was painful briefly ... but if it works I'd do it 10 times over again. It's amazing, absolutely wonderful. I still can't quite believe I'm having a baby."
Nottingham University is still looking for participants for its study. The findings are due to be published next year.