CHICAGO, Sept. 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- About 30 percent of pregnancies result in miscarriage, which means nearly one in three pregnancies will not result in a live birth. While a miscarriage is most often the result of a genetic abnormality, the Endometrial Receptivity Array (ERA®) test is shedding light on a little-known cause of implantation failure — the failure of the embryo to attach (or implant) to the uterine wall as a result of an IVF transfer occurring outside of a woman's fertile window. IVF frozen transfers currently account for 40-50 percent of all embryo transfers, with numbers on the rise.
For those who suffer repeated implantation failures after frozen IVF transfers, the ERA test offers new hope. The Endometrial Receptivity Assay is an advanced, personalized, genetic diagnostic method developed by IVIGEN that evaluates a woman's endometrial receptivity from a molecular point of view.
ERA test findings have indicated that 20-25 percent of embryo transfers are happening too early or too late. In a pilot study, researchers gave the ERA test to 85 women who had each experienced on average five rounds of IVF that had failed at the implantation stage. They found that the fertile window was more likely to be shifted early or late; in some cases they were completely missing the day when the embryo is transferred in standard IVF protocols. With the ERA test as a guide, the study found that 33 percent of those treated had a successful implantation, much higher than would typically be seen for this patient population. In the past, the only study done to assess endometrial receptivity was an ultrasound scan.
Dr. Laurence Jacobs of Fertility Centers of Illinois is among the first in the Chicagoland area to offer the ERA test during the past year.
According to Dr. Jacobs, the ERA test provides key information that can increase a woman's chance for a successful pregnancy. During an in-vitro fertilization cycle, an embryo is transferred to the uterus of a woman. Standard IVF protocols dictate that a transfer occurs on day five of embryo development. After the transfer, the embryo must successfully attach to the endometrial lining, the tissue on the inside of the uterus.
In a natural cycle, the endometrium is receptive to the implantation of embryos between days 19 and 21 of the menstrual cycle, or five to seven days after ovulation. If the endometrium is not receptive during this time frame, the embryo may be 'out of sync' with the uterine lining and transferred at the wrong time during IVF. The ERA test improves the chances of success for patients by determining the right time to transfer a frozen embryo based on the individual patient's uterine wall receptivity.
For Annie Peavey, who experienced four unsuccessful IVF cycles and a devastating triplet pregnancy loss, the ERA test found that a day six embryo transfer would optimize her chances of success. She credits the ERA test and Dr. Laurence Jacobs for her son Joshua, who was born this past spring after a five year journey of infertility. She shares her story in detail here.
"After all the loss we experienced, I was ready to give up," says Peavey. "The test finally gave us answers and hope that the child we dreamed of could be possible."
In the endometrium, numerous proteins are produced under the influence of estrogen and progesterone. These proteins are involved in preparing the endometrium in terms of its thickness and receptivity for implantation. Protein production in all cells is regulated by "gene expression" (gene activation or inactivation). After an endometrial biopsy, the ERA test analyzes the genetic expression levels of 238 genes related to the status of endometrial receptivity and pinpoints a woman's optimal time for transfer.
"Experiencing multiple miscarriages and failed IVF cycles is devastating to patients, both emotionally, physically, and financially," says Dr. Jacobs. "The ERA test removes the veil from information that was previously very difficult to assess, and provides couples with tangible information to assist in achieving pregnancy success."
Fertility Centers of Illinois is one of the leading fertility treatment practices in the United States, providing advanced reproductive endocrinology services in the Chicago area for more than 30 years. FCI physicians, embryologists and support staff are stringently chosen based on educational background, medical skills and their ability to collaborate. With a team of 11 nationally and internationally recognized reproductive physicians who treat thousands of patients each year, the practice has earned a reputation for overcoming hard-to-solve fertility issues. FCI is dedicated to medical and clinical excellence and continues to invest in the latest technologies and research. FCI offers a comprehensive range of fertility treatment options including intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, donor egg, gestational carrier, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, as well as extensive resources to address financial and emotional needs. Fostering a culture for continuous innovation has made FCI home to the annual Midwest Reproductive Symposium which attracts experts in the field of reproductive endocrinology from around the world. FCI has 10 offices conveniently located throughout the Chicagoland area (Buffalo Grove, Chicago/River North, Crystal Lake, Glenview, Highland Park, Hoffman Estates, Lindenhurst, Warrenville, Oakbrook Terrace, and Tinley Park). FCI is a member of the Attain Fertility Network which provides discounted fertility treatment programs. For more information call 877-324-4483 or visit www.fcionline.com
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