6:28 a.m. Wednesday November 25, 2015
Having a baby is an important goal for many couples; however1/6 couples will have trouble conceiving and can be defined as being subfertile.
Endometrial scratching has been suggested as a possible fertility treatment in women undergoing embryo transfer as part of an IVF cycle. Endometrial scratching is similar to a smear test, and can be achieved using a thin plastic catheter called a pipelle. The pipelle procedure takes 1-2 minutes and involves inserting the pipelle through the cervix into the womb and gently moving the pipelle back and forth to obtain a sample of the endometrium (lining of the womb).
More recently some research suggests this procedure can also be beneficial in couples who are trying to conceive from simpler fertility treatments and even in couples trying to get pregnant from intercourse alone.
However, the evidence for the benefit of pipelle scratching is limited and more research is needed. If this procedure is found to be beneficial, it will provide a cost-effective method of helping subfertile women and couples to conceive.
The Pipelle for Pregnancy (PIP) studies are three separate randomised controlled trials of endometrial pipelle scratching in different groups of participants:
In women undergoing IVF/ICSI/embryo transfer
In couples with unexplained infertility trying to conceive from sex only
In couples with subfertility related to polycystic ovarian syndrome who are on ovulation induction medication and trying to conceive from sex only
All three PIP studies are randomised controlled trials. This means that women who take part in the study are randomly allocated to either undergo the pipelle procedure, or not. The women are then followed to see if they get pregnant, and their pregnancies are followed to birth.
The PIP studies have been recruiting in Auckland since June 2014 and are now recruiting across New Zealand, and additionally at centres in Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Belgium and Sweden.
There is more information about the PIP studies on our website: www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/pip
If you have any questions about the PIP studies, would like some more information, or are interested in taking part, please get in touch with the PIP studies coordinator.
Sarah Lensen – PIP studies coordinator
09 923 9487