Implantation of the embryo in the endometrium, or uterine lining, is the first step in getting pregnant. And the health, thickness, and general suitability of the uterine lining are of prime importance to this process being successful.
Endometrial scratch seeks to improve endometrial conditions by purposefully, but gently, abrading (hence, ‘scratch’) the uterine lining, in an effort to trigger a healing response that may release chemicals, immune cells, hormones, and growth factors favourable to implantation.
The scratch, itself, is minor and should leave no permanent injury. For this purpose, a small catheter is used, being guided into the uterus through the cervix opening; its introduction and removal may cause discomfort akin to the cramping experienced during menstruation. Although no anaesthetic is used, the patient is advised to take over-the-counter pain medications, before and after endometrial scratch. She is free to return to normal activity immediately following the procedure.
Endometrial scratch is typically performed roughly one week prior to the start of an IVF cycle and is recommended for women who have gone through several failed IVF attempts, in spite of healthy embryos being used in transfer.