What is Autologous Endometrial Coculture?
Autologous endometrial coculture, more commonly known as coculture, is a state-of-the-art technique co-developed by Abington Reproductive Medicine’s Dr. Larry Barmat. It involves placing a patient’s fertilized eggs on top of a layer of cells from her own uterine lining, creating a more natural environment for embryo development and maximizing the chance for a successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy.
Currently, Abington Reproductive Medicine is one of only a handful of centers in the world offering this leading-edge procedure.
How is Coculture performed?
A typical coculture cycle consists of the following:
Once a patient has been deemed an appropriate candidate, she undergoes an endometrial biopsy during which a small piece of her uterine lining is removed.
The uterine lining sample is sent to our research lab, where it is treated, purified and frozen.
The patient then starts a typical IVF cycle and is given medication to stimulate egg growth in her ovaries.
The patient’s eggs are retrieved and mixed with the sperm. At this time, our lab begins thawing and growing her endometrial cells.
Once fertilization is confirmed (usually the following day), the patient’s embryos are placed on top of her own (and now thawed) endometrial cells.
Over the next two days, the embryos are closely monitored for growth and development.
The patient’s embryos are transferred into her uterus for implantation and pregnancy.
Who is a potential candidate?
Coculture can be an effective treatment for patients who have failed previous IVF cycles or who have poor embryo quality.
What are the advantages of the procedure?
In addition to being noninvasive and relatively pain free, coculture can be performed during a short office visit. The procedure also can improve embryo quality and stimulate embryo growth.
Are there any risks involved?
The risks of coculture are very minimal. In fact, the procedure has been performed in over 1000 patients with no reported detrimental effects on embryo growth. Complications involving uterine infection or damage caused by embryo biopsy are extremely rare.