Endometrial scratching before fertility treatment can help women who’ve had failed IVF treatments, to improve their chances of implantation, so we’re most likely to recommend this treatment if you’ve been through miscarriages or if you’ve had unsuccessful treatments before.
Studies on endometrial scratching have generally confirmed positive results. A 2015 study concluded that the procedure was more likely to improve IVF success rates for patients with two or more failed cycles. However, many fertility professionals now think that it could improve birth rates for all IVF patients.
You can have endometrial scratching if you are having IVF with your own eggs - fresh or frozen, and with donor eggs.
Endometrial scratching is similar to a smear test, so while it can be a little uncomfortable there’s usually no need for pain relief or sedation.
We’ll very gently scratch the lining of your womb, also known as the endometrium. This causes a release of hormones in order to begin a repair process. Evidence suggests that this process makes the endometrium more receptive to embryos, which means it could improve your chances implantation and therefore of a successful treatment.
The optimum time for the procedure is in the cycle before your IVF treatment. The best time is often day 21 of your cycle, however if you have an irregular menstrual cycle the timing could be different. Your consultant will advise you of the optimal date.
Are there any risks?
There is a small risk that if you have an infection within your cervix before ‘scratching’, this may cause the infection to spread up into the uterus. Your clinic can treat this if necessary.
What’s the evidence for endometrial scratching?
The current amber rating for endometrial scratching is based on a small number of moderate quality studies. There are currently three large clinical trials looking into endometrial scratching and the early findings suggest that the benefits of using this procedure may be less certain than initially thought. We will update our information when the data from these clinical trials becomes available.