Is there an optimal thickness?
Much research has been conducted to determine if an optimal endometrial lining thickness exists. However, the results are conflicting. Most studies on this topic focus on women undergoing frozen embryo transfer (FET) procedures. A recent study stated that specific endometrial thickness wasn’t a serious contributing factor for outcomes when FET was performed. Meanwhile, another study found the optimal thickness correlating with the highest live birth rates for IVF-FET to be between 8.7 – 14.5mm. Any thickness outside the stated range was linked to a dramatic drop in live births. To achieve optimal thickness, women undergoing IVF can consider the following recommendations.
1. Reconsider dietary choices
Just as with any other health concern, a poor diet can also impact the uterine lining. Patients undergoing IVF can consider adopting a diet typically recommended for individuals with endometriosis. Avoid potentially harmful foods such as options high in trans fats, a red meat-rich diet, or even fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) foods. Likewise, cut back on gluten, caffeine, and alcohol. Instead, prioritize iron-rich and fibrous foods and options rich in essential fatty acids. Also, focus on antioxidant-rich foods such as produce.
2. Consider taking a supplement
Before taking any supplement, always speak with a fertility specialist to ensure that any vitamin or mineral won’t interfere with hormonal treatments or other medications. A recent study found that vitamin E supplements improved uterine thickness by as much as 2mm in women that had previously undergone unsuccessful embryo transfers. Keep in mind the study participants took the supplements for 3 months before attempting another IVF cycle.
3. More rest, less stress
Trying to conceive (TTC) is far from easy, even for people who ultimately get pregnant naturally. However, the classic adage telling women to relax is just as true for individuals heading into an IVF round. Poor sleep and elevated stress levels can negatively impact reproductive health and even potentially encourage suboptimal endometrial lining thickness.
Speak with a specialist
Multiple factors can impact not just conception but achieving a live birth. Endometrial lining thickness is an important part but by no means the only criterion. Rather than falling down the Google rabbit hole of unfounded home remedies, speak with a fertility specialist to discuss concerns ahead of embryo transfer and best practices for achieving optimal lining thickness.