Causing harm to confer benefit is not a new concept in reproductive medicine.
Drilling many tiny holes in the ovaries - called ovarian drilling - and taking slices out of the ovary - called ovarian wedge resection - have long been used to help re-start ovulation naturally after a long period of anovulation.
The women who had scratch biopsies had live birth rates that were almost double (41.67%) those of similar women in the control group (22.96%) who did not have the procedure.
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This technique may be especially warranted when recurrent implantation failure is suspected.
Pregnancy rates may improve by up to 70% when this techniques is employed in the cycle before IVF.
In one study (4) where the biopsy was performed at egg-retrieval, the women who had the procedure experienced lower pregnancy rates than controls.
The current thinking on timing seems to be that with IVF, the scratch biopsy needs to be done once - or twice - in the cycle prior to embryo transfer..cycle before you begin gonadotrophin stimulation.
The researchers note that: "The evidence is strongly in favour of inducing local endometrial injury in the preceding cycle of ovarian stimulation to improve pregnancy outcomes in women with unexplained RIF (recurrent implantation failure)." "This study suggests that in women with RIF (recurrent implantation failure), inducing local injury to the womb lining in the cycle prior to starting ovarian stimulation for IVF can improve pregnancy outcomes..." Similarly, a 2012 review (8) from The Cochrane database pooled data from five trials including 591 women and concluded that: "Endometrial injury performed prior to the embryo transfer cycle improves clinical pregnancy and live birth rates in women undergoing ART..." Here follows a brief overview of some of the individual studies on this remarkable new treatment for implantation failure.