Whether you are trying to conceive naturally, undergoing IVF, or considering an egg donor (like my patient I was talking to today), you need a healthy uterus to support the growth and development of an embryo into a child. There are some key things you can look for to determine the health of your uterus.
One of major factors that your doctor can test for you is your uterine lining. Optimal thickness of the endometrium is greater than 8mm for implantation. The endometrial lining is primed by healthy estrogen levels through the follicular phase. If the lining of the uterus is not thick enough, there can be multiple factors affecting it.
First, of course, the estrogen’s affect on the uterus to support the development of the endometrium. Beyond that however, the optimal blood flow and nutrients to the uterus are crucial. In my practice we support the uterus with two different treatments: Mercier Therapy and Low Level Laser Therapy. Those are the two most effective treatments that I have found for the uterine health. Also, we want to ensure proper nutrient levels. At our clinic, we like to do that through functional nutritional analysis and support the body to have the nutrients that it needs.
Last but not least, the uterus, implantation, and embryo development are affected by something a little more difficult to analyze– how the immune system affects the uterus. To this affect, there are many expensive tests that can determine which exact immune cells are out of balance in the body (CD+, NK, or T – Cells. But, at our clinic, we prefer to test general immune and auto-immune factors. If any of those are elevated, we really ought to consider finding a resolution for bringing the immune system into balance. First and foremost, that usually involves healing the gut. A non-inflammatory diet may be recommended, in addition to supplements that will support immune balance. Then, we proceed to monitoring the previously out of balance immune cells to see if they have changed. Usually, they will resolve in 2-3 months, which has a promising affect on uterine quality.
The three treatments I have talked about here are crucial to uterine quality:
- Mercier Therapy
- Low Level Laser Therapy
- Immune re-balance through gut healing
I have seen a decrease in miscarriages because of this holistic approach, as well as better implantation and pregnancy rates in women undergoing IVF and Egg Donors. If you have had frequent miscarriages, are undergoing another IVF cycle and want to increase your chances for success, or are using an egg donor for your next cycle, I highly suggest calling us first. We can greatly improve your chances within just 6-8 weeks of treatment.
Progesterone Levels and Egg Quality
Most of you might be aware that progesterone is playing a significant role when it comes to infertility treatments today. It’s also known to play an important role in pregnancy and miscarriage. But, several people ask us what progesterone does with the egg quality. Is there any relationship between these two entities? Let’s try to understand this here now…
Understanding about Progesterone Synthesis:
Now, let’s try to understand about the progesterone synthesis here. There is a common misconception that progesterone is being produced by the ovary. But, it’s not so. The primary producer of this hormone is the corpus luteum, which is formed after the fertilization of your egg. The hormone will be released from the dominant follicle of the corpus luteum for the first 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy.
The Relationship between Egg Quality and Progesterone Synthesis:
Now, understand that the ovary will produce a dominant follicle every month, which will be carrying the egg. Upon ovulation, this egg will be released from this dominant follicle and thereafter the remaining cyst would become the corpus luteum. So, the relationship between the egg quality and progesterone levels is quite obvious now. If the egg that is being produced is not very healthy, then the resulting corpus luteum would tend to produce less amount of progesterone. Thus, there is a strong relationship between progesterone levels and quality of the egg. Also, remember that the corpus luteum is present within the ovary, but it is not ovary that produces required levels of progesterone when there is no ovulation and fertilization of the healthy egg.
Testing of Progesterone Levels:
As mentioned earlier, progesterone is produced by a healthy corpus luteum and hence, the levels of the hormone are measured on “Day 21” of the menstrual cycle. To be more accurate, it will be recorded on “Day 7” after your ovulation. For a fertile cycle, the levels will be 30 ng/ml or above.
So, how can this interrelationship be used to improve the egg quality and hence, fertility? Well, you can increase the likelihood of the good quality egg in the next cycle by regulating the hormones in the current cycle. This method is becoming popular now and is called “estrogen priming”.
Low Level Laser Therapy for Infertility Treatment
Low Level Laser Therapy is widely used for anti-aging treatments today. This clinically proven method has been around in the anti-aging services for over three decades now. The way, in which these light works is by mimicking how the cells communicate with each other and thereby, boosting the ability to produce ATP. It’s to be noted that ATP is the vital energy source that has to be given to each cell to carry out the regenerative and repair functions. By administering the low level laser light, the ATP is found to be increased by up to 150%.
As LLLT is found to be effective in anti-aging treatments, various researchers across the world took it forward for treating infertility. Surprisingly, the anti-aging concept with a low level laser is also effective in reversing ovarian age. Thus, this therapy can be used as an adjunctive therapy to holistic methods or in-vitro fertilization. This treatment, which can be otherwise called as laser acupuncture has a strong potential to help attain their highest fertility potential while trying to conceive naturally or artificially.
How does LLLT work?
As mentioned earlier, the LLLT would help optimize the fertility in women by activating mitochondrial function and thereby, stimulating the production of ATP in the cells. In addition to this vital function, this could also help promote the circulation of blood, control inflammation (ovarian aging), and soften scar tissues. Note that these are the major causes of infertility today.
Ovarian Aging and Anti-Mullerian Hormone:
This, which is otherwise called AMH, is a substance that is being produced by the granulose cells in the follicles of ovaries. Anti-Mullerian Hormone is the credible barometer to measure the state of ovarian reserve in women. When these levels are low, then it would suggest that the particular woman’s ovarian reserve is greatly decreasing and hence, needs immediate attention. It’s to be noted that production declines and then stops when these ovarian follicles grow. There will be no AMH in the follicles of size more than 8 mm.
What does the Study say about LLLT for Infertility?
Now, coming back to LLLT for infertility, as mentioned about, ovarian reserve and AMH levels are intimately tied to optimizing fertility. Now, let’s see the scientific proof for the effectiveness of LLLT in treating infertility. A study that was performed in an IVF center in Japan that used LLLT in women with low or undetectable AMH levels. Out of 188 patients treated, almost 56% reported pregnancy and 38% reported live births. This study was conducted from April 2010 to November 2015 and the patients with low or undetectable AMH levels. They were administered with low-level laser light for the neck and the abdominal-lumbar regions. For better understanding, among 13 patients with 0.1 AMH level, five patients were found to achieve a clinical pregnancy and six patients gave births.
Although there are only a few studies on the effectiveness of LLLT, several case studies have been reported that the LLLT is effective is ovarian age reversal and thus, can be used effectively to treat infertility, especially in the patients with low AMH levels.