I first heard about the ‘endo scratch’ from my parents, who had sent me an article from their local newspaper back in 2013. A local couple had finally achieved their dreams on the IVF cycle that followed them having a endometrial scratch and my parents thought I would be interested. I read it, it sounded good but I put it back in the drawer, it wasn’t something I really thought I would need, you know back in those naive days…..they seem so long ago now. It was something that was spoken about on twitter by my IVF twitter friends but again I didn’t really look into it as it wasn’t mentioned at my clinic as something that I needed to be doing. But now we are staring into the eyes of cycle number 2, the last of our funded IVF cycles it is something that I want to try.
It’s not cheap and it’s not overly easy to actually get a clinic to do within central Scotland. My actual clinic don’t offer them, even to private patients. They don’t feel that there is enough evidence to support them in helping with an IVF cycle but some other clinics do and I made an appointment at the Glasgow Centre Reproductive Medicine. for this morning. I felt that although there may be evidence for and against, that I needed to know that I have tried everything that I could that may possibly help this cycle be a success.
What is endometrial “scratch”?
Endometrial scratch is a simple outpatient procedure where a doctor/nurse uses a fine catheter to remove/scratch the lining of the womb. This instrument is already in common use within gynaecology for a biopsy from the endometrial lining. The procedure is usually planned in the second half of the cycle immediately preceding the IVF attempt.
How is it performed?
It involves vaginal examination with a speculum (like you have while having a cervical smear) and passing a very thin plastic tube called “endometrial pipelle” through the cervix to reach the endometrium. The pipelle is then moved up and down on the walls of the womb
A clinical review, published back in 2012 suggested that having the procedure prior to IVF can increase the rate of pregnancy, and suggests that women who underwent the process of gentle endometrial scraping one month before a cycle are twice as likely to see embryo implantation in that cycle, that’s a figure that I like!
The procedure itself was okay, I wasn’t too sure what to expect to be honest, but I am thankful to be able to say that it was uncomfortable but bearable. The consultant did a quick internal scan then did the actual scratch. I could feel some movement like something twisting around then the cramping started, very much like bad period cramping. I’m sure I scrunched my face up quite a bit but the consultant did praise me on tolerating it very well. It was over within a few minutes. The cramping however wasn’t, she did say that it could last a few hours and on the drive home I did have quite a few that did cause me to wince a little, but again nothing worse than bad period ones. They have eased off a lot and now when writing this 6 hours after the procedure I am only getting mild ones which are passing quite quickly.
Here’s hoping the pain and money are worth it! All I know is I had to try.