Nearly 2000 in vitro fertilisation procedures are done in Estonia every year and only every fourth ends with a pregnancy. The high rate of failed attempts indicates the importance of understanding the interactions between the embryo and the mother, because faults in these mechanisms could be the reason behind failure. Meanwhile, understanding the molecular mechanisms of embryo implantation would enable to significantly improve the efficiency of infertility treatment and help create a more favourable environment in the uterus so that more transferred embryos could implant.
Researchers of the University of Tartu, the Competence Centre on Health Technologies and the Karolinska Institute published a scientific article in the journal Human Reproduction, where they describe a method which enables to study the genes responsible for embryo implantation in the inner lining (endometrium) of the uterus to understand the dialogue between the embryo and the uterus.
One of the authors of the research, Research Fellow of the Competence Centre on Health Technologies and the Karolinska Institute Kaarel Krjutškov noted that even though the analysis of single cells of the embryo was described already in 2009, the research of the endometrium on single cell level was done for the first time.
Professor of Reproductive Medicine Andres Salumets of the University of Tartu, who led the research group, says that it is a noteworthy development because until now it was only possible to analyse embryos and there were no technological means for analysing the endometrium on a single cell level. “Perceiving biological processes on the single cell level is the only chance to make infertility treatment more successful for patients in the future,” said Salumets.
The researchers hope that in the near future they can describe as accurately as possible how the embryo implants and which genes are involved in the process. All of that new information helps map the important molecular stages of the beginning of life.