Couples struggling to get pregnant through IVF (in-vitro fertilization) are often offered a procedure known as “scratching the womb” as a last resort to conceive. As many as one-third of IVF clinics in Australia, New Zealand, and Britain offer this service, according to a survey. It is also believed that some clinics in the U.S. will offer or currently offer the womb-scratching procedure. If you’re a California resident, here are some more important things to know about fertility.
More about womb scratching
If you’re offered womb scratching, also called endometrial scratching, fertility experts say you may want to decline. This procedure has been discredited in several clinical trials from Australia’s University of Melbourne. Over 50% of the fertility specialists who participated in the survey stated that womb scratching is offered to patients to offer them the hope of conception. However, less than one in 10 of the specialists surveyed believed that womb scratching increases a couple’s chances of having a baby.
More on the survey
Many of the physicians in the survey, which was conducted in 2021, stated that one of the benefits of womb scratching is psychological. The procedure eases the distress of women who are desperately trying to get pregnant. Womb scratching may also make women more hopeful about getting pregnant if they’re starting a new IVF cycle.
For the scratching process, a biopsy is taken from the endometrium or inner layer of the uterus. The endometrium is scratched with a lab tool. Recent studies have shown that there is no benefit to the procedure, which is why many fertility specialists are reconsidering it.
Of the 121 fertility specialists surveyed in the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, about 34% still provide womb scratching. This is surprising, given that only 8% of physicians surveyed think that this procedure increases the odds of conception.