To glue or not to glue - that is the question!

EmbryoGlue is the name given to a specific culture medium that is used during embryo transfer. This culture media contains high concentrations of hyaluronan, also known as hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronan is not really a glue at all, but a substance that occurs naturally in the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. It is hypothesised that high concentrations of hyaluronan around the embryo aids in the interaction between the embryo and the uterine lining which is necessary for implantation.

EmbryoGlue has been available for over 20 years, however during this time its efficacy has been debated in the literature as the published studies have been highly variable in terms of quality. Large reviews that have taken into account all available evidence have suggested there may be an overall beneficial effect (1, 2). Most importantly, from the smaller studies that have not reported a benefit, EmbryoGlue was not shown to have any adverse effect on cycle outcome. A more recent large study has found that it was of benefit only in patients who have had repeated implantation failure (3). Based on the evidence to date, we have decided to offer EmbryoGlue to our patients, and we will recommend it to specific patients when we believe there may be a benefit.

The culture media that is usually used for embryo culture and transfer also contains hyaluronan but in lower concentrations than that found in EmbryoGlue. Therefore, using EmbryoGlue does not affect your treatment at all, apart from the fact that your embryo is cultured and transferred with this modified culture media. Using EmbryoGlue will involve a small additional cost to your fresh or frozen treatment cycle as it is a more expensive media. For more information, please contact our friendly staff or speak to your fertility doctor.

References

  1. Bontekoe, S., Blake, D., Heineman, M.J., Williams, E.C. and Johnson, N., 2010. Adherence compounds in embryo transfer media for assisted reproductive technologies. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (7).
  2. Harper, J., Jackson, E., Sermon, K., Aitken, R.J., Harbottle, S., Mocanu, E., Hardarson, T., Mathur, R., Viville, S., Vail, A. and Lundin, K., 2017. Adjuncts in the IVF laboratory: where is the evidence for ‘add-on’interventions? Human Reproduction, 32(3), pp.485-491.
  3. Fu, W., Yu, M. and Zhang, X.J., 2018. Effect of hyaluronic acid–enriched transfer medium on frozen–thawed embryo transfer outcomes. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research, 44(4), pp.747-755
     

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