Endometrial coculture is an advanced IVF technique utilized to promote normal embryo development and thereby increase a patient's chance of establishing a healthy pregnancy. Coculture is a process by which embryos develop on culture containing cells grown from the mother's uterine lining, or endometrium, before being transferred to the mother's uterus, the final step in an IVF cycle.
Endometrial coculture is an effective supplement to IVF in certain circumstances, including patients who have had multiple failed IVF cycles, or with previous poor embryo quality.
After the patient and physician agree to proceed with endometrial coculture as part of an IVF cycle, the physician collects a small sample of the patient's endometrium immediately before the menstrual period prior to the IVF cycle. Endometrial sampling is a brief, outpatient procedure that does not require sedation.
The endometrial cells collected by the physician are grown in the Embryology Laboratory. These cells are thawed prior to oocyte retrieval. The cultured uterine cells are placed in the Petri dish with the embryo(s) resulting from an IVF cycle, where they support embryonic development until embryo transfer or cryopreservation.
CRM is one of the first centers to publish research on the benefits of embryo coculture in conjunction with IVF.