Causes & Treatment

Could a Beauty and Muscle Ingredient Help those With Low Ovarian Reserve?

Eloise Edington  |  24 Jun 2021

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How a beauty and muscle treatment ingredient (PRP) could solve two of the most difficult fertility issues.

Here on Fertility Help Hub, we have collaborated with the New England Fertility Institute to discuss new and inspiring medical research, looking into platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and its connection in solving uterine lining thinness (womb lining) and low ovarian function (AMH) with IVF. For so long the only few solutions to these fertility issues have been surrogacy or egg donation.

PRP is a potentially promising alternative that focuses on solving some reasons for infertility, as opposed to working around them – increasing IVF and pregnancy success rates. A thin uterine (womb) lining and low ovarian function are two difficult fertility issues to cure, even with IVF, so the recent studies into the effects PRP on fertility could be a game changer for the industry and for fertility patients.

Words by New England Fertility Institute

What is PRP?

Known more widely for its use in beauty treatments, such as facial rejuvenation and hair restoration, as well as the treatment of muscle strain injuries, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is being evaluated as a solution during IVF for low ovarian reserve and poor uterine lining (two of the most difficult fertility issues to address).

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PRP As a Potential Alternative to Egg Donation and Surrogacy

While egg donation and surrogacy can address those problems, not all patients see them as acceptable or affordable. PRP therapy, however, relies on the body’s own resources — platelets, specifically, which are found in blood — to improve the odds of a successful pregnancy, by addressing (through IVF) low ovarian reserve and by thickening uterine lining.

Egg quality and quantity can diminish with age, driving down the chances of conceiving for patients in their 30s and 40s. Some younger women naturally suffer from premature ovarian failure, low hormone levels, or unexplained infertility, as well. Platelets, which contain a growth factor to stimulate healing, can help offset these issues. Some patients choose PRP treatment to address their own poor egg quality and/or quantity before resorting to searching for an egg donor.

How Does It Work?

Injected directly into the ovaries using the same ultrasound-guided method used for egg retrieval, PRP stimulates stem cells and can improve the quantity of viable eggs and increase one’s chances of becoming pregnant. PRP can even, in some cases, restore menstrual cycles.

Related Article – How to Increase Egg Quality and Sperm Quality Through Diet and Lifestyle

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Who is Eligible for PRP?

To determine whether a patient is a candidate for ovarian rejuvenation using PRP, a fertility clinic should conduct a blood test, perform an ultrasound, and conduct a full review of the patient’s treatment history — all standard components of a fertility assessment. Once PRP is administered, the fertility clinic will monitor the changes in the patient’s hormone levels and repeat the ultrasound to determine that the fertility treatment is working, and then calculate the appropriate time for an IVF cycle.

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Fertility Treatment

A thicker endometrial lining (womb lining) is more likely to receive a fertilised egg, but also provides greater nourishment for an embryo. For patients who have a thinner womb lining and a history of failed embryo transfers, a series of PRP treatments within a week of an embryo transfer may thicken the uterine lining and increase IVF success rates. PRP is slowly introduced into the uterus through the same type of catheter used for intrauterine insemination, or IUI; the process takes only minutes.

Fortunately, collecting platelets is simple and it can be done at the fertility clinic. The patient’s blood is drawn, then placed in a centrifuge that separates the platelets from the red and white blood cells. PRP is then extracted from those platelets and administered to the patient, sometimes on the same day. Any plasma left over after treatment can be frozen for future use.

The use of PRP in the treatment of infertility is still a fairly new practice and considered experimental with no guarantees; however, it could address some of the most common barriers to pregnancy and IVF success rates and is one of the most promising advances in reproductive medicine in recent years.

If you are interested in trying PRP to treat your infertility, or if you would simply like to try something different before trying egg donation or surrogacy, reach out to the New England Fertility Institute for more information and guidance.

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