6 February 2017

Patients invited to participate in fertility research

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Complete Fertility

Complete Fertility Centre Southampton is a university based fertility centre. As such we are passionate about providing research-based care, we are often at the forefront of new developments in fertility medicine, and we are pleased to be involved in current research programmes.

We invite our patients to consider participating in our current research programmes: the endometrial scratch trial and E-freeze.

Endometrial scratch trial

This research study is being conducted to find out if performing an endometrial scratch is beneficial for women undergoing IVF/ICSI for the first time.

An endometrial scratch is a simple routine outpatient procedure that involves taking a small amount of tissue from the lining of the womb (endometrium).

It is thought that the process of scratching the lining of the womb may release certain chemicals that are important in helping the fertilised egg (embryo) to stick to the lining of the womb (implantation). Similar trials have used the same technique in women undergoing IVF/ICSI for the second or subsequent time with beneficial results.

The endometrial scratch trial plans to recruit 1044 women from ten IVF units in the UK. Each woman taking part in the trial will be randomly allocated to receive (intervention group) or not receive (control group) the endometrial scratch procedure. If you have the endometrial scratch you’ll require one additional visit to your IVF clinic for the procedure.


 This study aims to find out which method of embryo transfer results in a higher healthy baby rate.

IVF involves hormone injections to stimulate a woman’s ovaries to produce eggs which are then removed by a minor operation and mixed with sperm to create embryos in the laboratory. Usually these embryos are replaced in the uterus in 3 to 5 days. This is called fresh embryo transfer. Any remaining embryos are usually frozen so that they can be thawed and transferred at a later date if required – a process known as thawed frozen embryo transfer. Both forms of embryo transfer are commonly used as part of routine IVF treatment.

There have been some small studies, which suggest that using thawed frozen embryos may lead to improved pregnancy rates. This is because when frozen embryos are used, there is a delay in embryo transfer of between one and three months, allowing the excess of hormones of ovarian stimulation to wear off, giving the uterus time to return to its natural state. Only a few, small studies have been done so we don’t know which procedure is better. The E-Freeze study will compare these two procedures of embryo transfer in 1086 couples from IVF centres throughout the UK.

More information

Please contact Sue Wellstead on 023 8120 6856 or susan.wellstead@uhs.nhs.uk.

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