A healthy uterine lining matters
The uterine lining is called the endometrium. The endometrium is where the fertilized egg finally settles to begin development during pregnancy. The endometrium must be thick enough to accommodate the embryo, or there could be repeated pregnancy loss. As part of the many tests during IVF, the medical team will use ultrasound to examine a woman’s uterine lining. If the lining is too thin, less than 7mm thick, the fertility team may not perform the embryo transfer.
What causes a poor uterine lining?
In most cases, there is an underlying cause for a thin endometrium. For example, imaging tests can reveal conditions like scarring, infections, or fibroids. Sometimes, there are symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding, cramping, and painful periods. In some cases, poor blood flow or low estrogen production can cause a thin uterine lining. If the tests reveal a physical issue, this must be handled before IVF. For instance, a doctor may recommend medication for infections or surgery to remove fibroids.
Can you improve things naturally?
All is not lost if there is no apparent reason for a thin lining. There are still ways to thicken the uterine lining naturally. The primary goal should be to improve the blood flow to the uterus. Moderate exercise, acupuncture, massage, and reducing body weight can help. Some fertility pharmacists may suggest supplements to improve estrogen production and blood flow. Vitamin D, E, L-arginine, pomegranate, hibiscus, and N-acetyl-cysteine are effective supplements.
Thicker is better
Some women can get pregnant with a thin endometrium. However, the chances of success are much lower. With IVF, taking these chances can be financially and emotionally draining. Addressing the concern can significantly improve the chances of success. The medical team can address clear physical issues like infections. However, lifestyle changes and supplements can also help. IVF is powerful in that the medical team can freeze the embryos until the uterine lining improves. The extra time addressing this concern can be a difference-maker in IVF.