New Research Into The "Golden Window" For Timing Embryo Transfer


13 October 2021

Timing is everything when it comes to achieving pregnancy. But determining with absolute precision the perfect time for an embryo transfer in the menstrual cycle can be challenging.

Through world-leading research, Monash IVF is constantly looking at new ways to improve pregnancy success rates for our patients.

Our Medical Director Professor Luk Rombauts and Senior Monash IVF Clinician Professor Beverley Vollenhoven has published promising new research that could pinpoint the “golden window” for pregnancy success.

With colleagues from Melbourne’s RMIT, Professor Rombauts and Provessor Vollenhoven have helped identified a Teflon-like molecule that makes the surface of the womb slippery and prevents embryos from implanting. The team also discovered that the levels of this molecule on the womb’s surface decrease at a certain point in the menstrual cycle, allowing the womb to become sticker and therefore improving the chances of implantation.

The researchers examined levels of the anti-implantation molecule, known as podocalyxin (PCX), in the endometrium of 81 women undergoing IVF treatment.

While the women with low levels of PCX had a 53% pregnancy success rate, those women where the molecule had not been reduced had a success rate of just 18%.

Measuring levels of PCX at the mid-luteal phase could in future lead to a new screening test, which could also be used to determine if someone is infertile.

The research team has already begun work to better understand the role of PCX and how it is regulated in the body, with the aim of developing infertility treatments.

PCX could be picked up through a standard pathology laboratory, making testing for it relatively cost-effective.

Professor Rombauts hope is that the team’s work will deliver a simple test that can help patients and boost the precision and personalisation of IVF treatment.

You can find out more about the research here.

About The Researchers

Professor Luk Rombauts is the Medical Director of Monash IVF Group. He is a Gynaecologist and a Specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He practices in Frankston, Melbourne CBD, Mornington, Clayton and Richmond in Victoria. You can book an appointment with Professor Rombauts here.

Professor Beverley Vollenhoven is a Gynaecologist and Specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She practices in Clayton, Victoria. You can book an appointment with Professor Vollenhoven here.

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