Infertility is a challenge and a journey. For patients with IVF failure, it can seem like an endless struggle. ReceptivaDx can help these patients find out if endometriosis may be the cause of their IVF failure. If proven to be the case, the patient can pursue treatment options.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a relatively common condition among women, in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows in other places within the body. These areas of tissue are called implants. They can grow on the ovaries, the outside of the uterus, the intestines, and other organs near the uterus. In some cases, they grow in places farther away from the uterus.
During the month, implants build up just like the lining of the uterus. If there is no pregnancy, they bleed during the menstrual period. Because they are not in the uterus, there is no way for the blood to exit the body. This can cause pain, and the implants can get irritated.
Endometriosis and Infertility
Endometriosis can cause infertility. In fact, between 20 and 40% of women struggling with infertility have it! Doctors are not sure exactly why this is the case, but there are a few possible reasons.
The implants that form in the abdomen may change the fluid around the organs. This may affect hormone processes and prevent pregnancy. Another possible connection is scarring. The irritation of the implants, over and over again, can cause scars. It is possible that the scarring changes the structure of the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes.
For patients with IVF failure, endometriosis may play a part. Because the condition may physically alter the reproductive organs or change the hormonal environment, it could prevent pregnancy even with a viable embryo. Endometriosis can make it very difficult or impossible for the embryo to implant in the uterus.
Symptoms and Treatment
People with endometriosis may have constant symptoms, or there may be no symptoms at all. The most common symptom is pain, which is caused by the out-of-place tissue. Some women have pain all the time, and some only have pain at certain points in their cycle. It is also possible to have pain only during certain activities, such as during sex or exercise.
Treatment for fertility caused by endometriosis may include hormone therapy or laparoscopic surgery. Hormone therapy can reduce the growth of implants, and surgery is an option to remove existing implants. Contrary to what some believe, pain medicine does not treat endometriosis. It may help with the pain, but it has no effect on fertility.
What is ReceptivaDx?
One of the most frustrating things about endometriosis is that it is very difficult to diagnose. Even though it affects over 176 million women, it takes 11 years on average to get a diagnosis. Until now, the only sure way to tell if a patient has it has been to perform surgery and look for implants. ReceptivaDx is changing that.
ReceptivaDx is a test that detects a protein called BCL6. High levels of this protein mean that the patient probably has endometriosis.
How Does it Work?
The test is performed using a sample of the lining of the uterus. A doctor can take the sample during a normal office visit. The sample is sent to a lab, and results come back within six business days. The test can be performed during a regular cycle or a mock cycle, as long as the sample is taken during the implantation window. This is either 7-10 days after ovulation or 5-10 days after the patient starts progesterone.
How Does ReceptivaDx Help Patients with IVF Failure?
When it comes to health, knowledge is power. For patients with endometriosis and IVF failure, treatment can help improve the chances of a successful pregnancy. Once a patient has a positive BCL6 test, hormone therapy or surgery are reasonable next steps.
ReceptivaDx is valuable for patients with IVF failure because it can either identify or rule out endometriosis as a possible cause. The test is much less invasive than surgery, posing less risk to the patient’s overall health.
Another benefit of the test is the low cost. Compared to thousands of dollars for surgery, ReceptivaDx costs less than $700. IVF is also expensive, and it is good for patients to know if there is something that will prevent it from working.
For women who test positive for BCL-6, the chance of a successful IVF transfer is less than 18%. For women who test negative, that chance is more than 70%. A positive test can also predict problems later in pregnancy.
Those statistics may seem daunting, but the good news is that treating endometriosis can lessen its effect on fertility!
What to Know
For patients with IVF failure, endometriosis may be the cause. ReceptivaDx can help patients find out whether or not they have endometriosis without surgery. If you have tried IVF and have not had a successful transfer, this test may be the best next step for you. Talk with your doctor, and contact us with any questions you may have.