For an IVF/ICSI cycle to be successful, in addition to good quality embryos it is also important that the lining of the womb (endometrium) where the embryo is going to implant is favourable.
Recent studies have suggested that a simple procedure called “endometrial scratch” can boost the chances of successful implantation.
What is endometrial “scratch”?
Endometrial scratch is a simple outpatient procedure where a doctor/nurse uses a fine catheter to remove/scratch the lining of the womb. This instrument is already in common use within gynaecology for a biopsy from the endometrial lining. The procedure is usually planned in the second half of the cycle immediately preceding the IVF attempt.
How is it performed?
It involves vaginal examination with a speculum (like you have while having a cervical smear) and passing a very thin plastic tube called “endometrial pipelle” through the cervix to reach the endometrium. The pipelle is then moved up and down on the walls of the womb. A biopsy may be obtained which may be sent for further examination.
You will be asked to attend with a semi-full bladder and will have an internal scan to assess the shape and position of the womb before and/or during the procedure.