17 Aug Embryo glue – does it work or not?
Does embryo glue (or, strictly speaking, EmbryoGlue) really work? We were initially sceptical. A low-cost product that helps your embryo to implant? It sounded too good to be true. Critics initially called embryo glue too simplistic. But has that view changed?
Today, embryo glue is used by many fertility clinics. There’s been updated research and positive feedback. It may benefit some patients more than others, but some results have been encouraging. We think embryo glue has promise.
Embryo glue isn’t really a glue at all. It’s a specially developed formula that contains, among other things, high levels of a substance called hyaluronan, also known as hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronan occurs naturally in your uterine lining. It makes secretions stickier, aiding the very complex process of implantation. Embryo glue mimics those endometrial secretions. On your embryo transfer day, your embryos are first dipped into the glue. Its adhesive effect may help your embryos attach, enhancing implantation. Some linings need that extra push.
Like many fertility add-ons, embryo glue faced resistance. An early study in the Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics and Gynaecology cast doubt on its effects. That gave the makers of the product a very bad morning. Other reviews, and clinical reaction, have been mixed.
But more recent research suggests otherwise. A review carried out by the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Sub-Fertility Group, published in the respected Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, showed more promising results.
The evidence suggested that clinical pregnancy and live birth rates are improved by the use of hyaluronic acid. Other studies suggest embryo glue may be particularly beneficial for women with repeated implantation failure or unexplained infertility.
Fertility clinics are best placed to monitor implantation failure. So if you’ve had previous fertility treatments where it all looked promising – nice lining, good-quality embryos, normal uterine environment – and your treatment failed, EmbryoGlue might be needed.
Money-wise, embryo glue is a relatively low-cost fertility add-on. It’s not going to break the bank. Clinic fees are around £200. It’s non-contentious, so any patient can request it and clinics are unlikely to object.
Our thinking is this. If fertility clinics see value in an affordable product, backed by fairly reasonable research, perhaps patients should too. It’s certainly less controversial, and less invasive, than endometrial scratching.
Research into the benefits of embryo glue continues. But if you’ve had issues with implantation or repeat miscarriages, it’s worth considering. Speak to your clinic, and watch our video below.