What is endometrial scratching?
An endometrial scratch is a procedure which is performed to help embryos implant and increases the chances pregnancy. Research has shown that scratching the uterine lining causes a ‘repair reaction’ which may increase embryo implantation rates. The repair process releases growth factors, hormones and chemicals. The new lining which grows after the procedure is thought to be more receptive to an implanting embryo and so increases the chances of pregnancy. It is possible that genes which are responsible for implantation of embryos are sometimes not ‘switched on’ during the time when embryos are supposed to implant. Endometrial scratching may ‘switch on’ the genes that are responsible for preparation of the endometrium for implantation, which increases the chances of pregnancy. More research is being undertaken to understand the exact reasons why this happens.
Who may benefit from endometrial scratching?
Endometrial scratch may be recommended for women who have not achieved a pregnancy after several attempts of embryo transfer, despite the transfer of good quality embryos and the absence of other causes of failed implantation. The technique was used for patients who have had a failed assisted conception treatment cycles, but there is now emerging evidence that it may be useful in all treatment cycles, including patients having treatment for the first time.
How does scratching help implantation?
New research and evidence suggests that scratching the uterine lining causes a ‘repair reaction’ which may increase embryo implantation rates:
- The repair process releases growth factors, hormones and chemicals. The new lining which grows after the procedure is thought to be more receptive to an implanting embryo and so increases the chances of pregnancy.
- ‘Gene switching’ - scientists believe that the genes which are responsible for implantation of embryos are sometimes not ‘switched on’ during the time when embryos are supposed to implant. Endometrial scratching may ‘switch on’ the genes that are responsible for preparation of the endometrium for implantation, which increases the chances of pregnancy. Research is still being gathered to understand exactly how this works.
When is the best time to have the procedure?
It is usual for an endometrial scratch to be performed around day 21 during the cycle before your treatment commences.
Do I need to prepare for an endometrial scratch?
You must not have unprotected intercourse in the four weeks before the planned endometrial scratch appointment. You should use a condom for contraception during the cycle of the scratch appointment to avoid the risk of a possible pregnancy. Your clinic will advise you of the day that you will need your endometrial scratch which is usually around 7 – 9 days before your period is due.
You may eat and drink normally before the procedure. You do not need to empty your bladder before the procedure unless you feel uncomfortable with a full bladder. You should wear comfortable clothing that gives easy access to the lower part of your body. You should bring a sanitary towel with you for use after the procedure.
We recommend taking Paracetamol or similar mild analgesic half hour before your appointment; this may help relieve any discomfort during the procedure.
What happens during a Endometrial Scratch?
A speculum is inserted into the vagina, the same as when having a smear test or embryo transfer. A very fine tube is passed into the cervical canal and into the uterus. The tube is then gently moved to ‘scratch’ the endometrium (lining of the womb). The procedure should only take 15-20 minutes. You may experience a little discomfort but no anaesthetic is required. The doctor or nurse performing the procedure will explain what is going to happen and then you will be asked to sign a consent form. A fine, thin plastic tube (flexible catheter) will then be passed through the opening of the cervix into the cavity of the uterus to gently and superficially scratch the lining of the uterus. (Inserting and moving the catheter up and down may cause mild abdominal cramping similar to period pain). Some mild bleeding is common after the procedure.
What happens after the procedure?
After the procedure you will be able to continue your normal daily activities, but you may benefit from not going back to work the same day. You can eat and drink normally immediately after. We recommend that you make arrangements for a relative or a friend to drive you home in case you experience more discomfort than usual during or after the procedure.
What are the risks?
Endometrial scratch is a very safe procedure which does not require any anaesthetic. It is usual to experience some cramping pains during and after the procedure, but these will ease in a very short time. We will ensure you feel well before you leave the clinic. Very rarely, the procedure can cause pelvic infection. There is a very small risk that any infection within the cervix may spread to the uterine cavity during the procedure. This would become apparent up to 10 days following the procedure. If you suspect and experience any of the following signs and symptoms within a few days of the procedure, please contact your GP and inform them that you have had an endometrial scratch (biopsy):
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
- Persistent bleeding.
- Increasing lower abdominal pain.
- Unexplained fever.
- Feeling generally unwell.
Please note that it is recommended to screen all women for Chlamydia prior to endometrial scratch and you already should have been screened before starting your IVF treatment.
Is pain relief needed after the procedure?
We recommend that you take Paracetamol before the Endometrial Scratch and if you do experience any discomfort later in the day it is advisable to take a further dose after four hours. It is common to experience period type pains which may last for a few hours following the procedure.
How do I book an Endometrial Scratch?
Cherish-UK is a private pregnancy and fertility scanning clinic, you can self refer and arrange an appointment at your convenience. To book an Endometrial Scratch please telephone us on 0121 354 4777 or 07580 611 879, fill out our online enquiry form or email us at email@example.com
Endometrial Scratch Fees
Monday - Saturday
Sunday 9.30am - 12pm
Please note: There is a £50 non-refundable deposit to be paid at time of booking and £130 on the day of the procedure.
Payment is required by cash or card on arrival at the clinic. We do not accept cheques.
Please be aware that Cherish UK has a 24 hour notice cancellation policy. If you do not attend on the day and have not made contact to cancel your appointment we reserve the right to charge the full fee.
What Cherish-UK Clients Say About Us
"I can't thank the team at Cherish-UK enough for their caring professional approach. I used their service on three separate occasions for scans and an endometrial scratch. I was able fit my appointments around my schedule either before work or weekends. I was seen promptly, no crowded waiting rooms. The team were so warm and showed a genuine interest in me. I will definitely use them in the future and will certainly recommend Team Cherish to my friends and family. Thank you all at Cherish x
"We have visited Cherish today for the 2nd time for an endometrial scratch. All my concerns were instantly brushed aside on arrival as the team there are so lovely and caring whilst remaining professional. We travel a 130 mile round trip but I honestly wouldn't go anywhere else as they are so lovely, friendly, helpful and compassionate. Thankyou again to you all for your fantastic service, I hope to be in touch again soon :) "
"Excellent customer service from Rachel and Diana, it was worth the long distance travelled. Thanks again"
"I have attended Cherish for an endometrial scratch, several intralipids, a pre-treatment scan before IVF and reassurance scan because of a bleeding scare. Both Diane and Jacqui have been excellent at providing these services. It is a real one-to-one service and they are very professional. Would definitely recommend."
"I was very pleased with the quality of care when I went for my endometrial scratch I felt very welcome and the staff were very professional I would definitely use again."
"Professional, friendly and most importantly warm. After being through NHS IVF treatment it was a welcome change to be in a an environment I didn't feel rushed in and felt people were listening to me and cared."
Lynsey, Leamington Spa
"I have been to this clinic For endometrial scratch and met the lovely lady called Diana, she was so helpful, she sent all my medical reports abroad to my clinic were I was due for my IVF. I can recommend anyone who want help."
"Fantastic information given. Very reassuring and very understanding."
Emma, Burton on trent
"Love this clinic, they put my mind at rest and are caring and professional. Plus its nice and local!"
Mel, Sutton Coldfield
"Great local service. Both ladies were very friendly and accommodating to my needs. I was seen at the earliest opportunity and it was all stress free. They make you feel comfortable immediately upon arrival. Great service."
"It really gave me reassurance, both Diana an Jacqui were most helpful and knew their stuff."
Cel, Sutton Coldfield