What is the endometrium?
The endometrium is the innermost lining layer of the uterus.The endometrium is one of the most important players of the female reproductive system. This tissue acts as the wall of the uterus or the womb where a baby develops.
The endometrium is made up of layers, the first layer acts as a stabilizing anchor within the uterus and remains unchanged while the second is a dynamic layer that fluctuates based on what stage of the menstrual cycle a female is in. This functional layer of the endometrium is where a fertilized egg or a blastocyst will implant if conception takes place. Every month the endometrium undergoes changes in preparation the arrival of an embryo.
Why do I need to know about the endometrium?
The dynamic layer of the endometrium controls a woman’s period and her menstrual cycle. Irregularities or problems with the endometrium could lead to several problems when trying to get pregnant.
The most common problems that arise in the endometrium are a displaced window of implantation and endometriosis. Additionally, some less common conditions that could occur in the endometrium include endometrial hyperplasia and cancer. It is very important to speak to your doctor about your endometrial health especially if you are considering undergoing assisted reproductive treatments like IVF. Understanding that some women have a displaced window of implantation can help with.
How will my endometrium affect me?
Your endometrium plays a massive role in your ability to get pregnant, if the endometrium is not ready to accept a fertilized egg then implantation will not occur, and you will not be able to conceive. Recurrent implantation failure (RIF) is a major cause of infertility in otherwise healthy women, RIF could be caused by problems involving the uterus, the embryo or the environment in which both interact (the endometrium!). Conditions affecting the endometrium could impact your fertility and this could be influenced by the how thick or thin your endometrium is, infection and the bacteria present in your endometrium.
How can I test my endometrial health?
There are several tests offered by Igenomix to examine the bacteria present in the endometrium which will in turn guide your health care team on the most appropriate window of implantation and the best day to transfer an embryo. Speak to your doctor and fertility specialist to understand if these tests would be applicable to you. Understanding your endometrium health is beneficial to any woman undergoing assisted reproductive treatments.
These tests are:
- ERA (Endometrial Receptivity Analysis). Allows identification of each woman’s implantation window, and the carrying out of a personalized embryo transfer (pET). This has shown an increase in reproductive success in treatments using assisted reproductive techniques. This analysis is indicated for women with recurrent implantation failure.
- ALICE (AnaLysis of Infectious Chronic Endometritis). A diagnostic test that detects eight bacteria responsible for chronic endometritis. If the test is positive, the recommendation is the administration of antibiotics or probiotics. This test and protocol are indicated for women who have had more than one miscarriage or recurrent implantation failures. With this analysis, women can improve their chances of conceiving with endometriosis.
- EMMA (Endometrial Microbiome Metagenomic Analysis). This determines the percentage of bacteria required in the endometrium to improve the reproductive prognosis of women. It includes the ALICE test so that it also detects the presence of pathogenic bacteria. It indicates if the microbial environment of the uterus is adequate (or not) for embryo implantation. This test is indicated for any woman who wants to become pregnant, but especially for those who have had recurrent implantation failures.