Hyaluronic acid may boost chance of live birth
Melinda Van Kerckvoorde
Progress Educational Trust27 September 2022
A large data analysis study has found that embryo exposure to hyaluronic acid prior to transfer could improve IVF success rates for patients using their own eggs.
Hyaluronic acid is an adhesive compound that is secreted by the cells surrounding the egg and is naturally present in the female reproductive tract. Following in-vitro fertilisation, embryos are kept in a liquid medium before being transferred back to the womb. Many studies have investigated whether adding hyaluronic acid to the culture medium could be a simple and cheap way to improve IVF success. A data analysis published in Human Reproduction suggests that it may increase live birth rates for some patients.
'We found that when women use their own eggs, exposing to hyaluronic acid for ten minutes before placing it in the uterus increased the likelihood of a cycle resulting in a birth by 32 percent to 39 percent,' said Dr Devorah Heymann from Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, Israel who led the study in partnership with Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.
The research team analysed data from 15 clinical trials to compare the effect of hyaluronic acid on pregnancy outcomes between patients who used their own eggs or donor eggs for IVF. A total of 4686 IVF patients were included in the study whose embryo culture medium contained high or low concentrations or no hyaluronic acid. Following statistical analysis, the researchers claim that culture media containing high concentrations of hyaluronic acid increase the number of live births and clinical pregnancies from 36 percent to 43 percent and 42 to 47 percent, respectively, when using the patient's own eggs. No beneficial effect on pregnancy outcomes was observed when using donor eggs.
The team had previously carried out a Cochrane Review in 2020 which had also shown that hyaluronic acid treatment could help people who use their own eggs for IVF.
Given the increased demand for donor eggs, hyaluronic acid treatment thus could help patients to conceive even when their own eggs are of poorer quality. Furthermore, this study could provide more evidence for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority which currently lists hyaluronic acid addition during IVF as a treatment add-on with conflicting results.
The researchers highlight that more data is needed to reveal the true effect of hyaluronic acid when using donated eggs and that further research is required to understand the underlying mechanism of hyaluronic acid.
Sources and References
20 May 2022. Human Reproduction
The effect of hyaluronic acid in embryo transfer media in donor oocyte cycles and autologous oocyte cycles: a systematic review and meta-analysis
8 September 2022. Times of Israel
Adding acid to embryos boosts IVF outcomes by a third, Israeli study shows
8 September 2022. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Review reveals simple method to increase number of IVF births
8 September 2022. No Camels
Bathing embryos in hyaluronic acid improves IVF, study finds
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.