The endometrium, the lining of the womb, must be ‘receptive’ for a woman to have a successful pregnancy, allowing the embryo to attach at the correct time during her monthly cycle.
If it isn’t receptive, a woman can struggle to achieve and keep a healthy pregnancy. An embryo might repeatedly fail to implant or, sadly, she may have reduced fertility or go through miscarriage.
To stop this happening, experts want to better understand the lining of the womb, and what factors determine whether a woman can have a healthy pregnancy or not.
In other words, what does ‘receptive’ womb lining look like?
To do this, Dr Jane Cleal and her team will collect womb lining samples from women who are struggling to conceive, have had multiple miscarriages and have normal levels of fertility.
Using cutting edge techniques called Drop-Seq, Dr Cleal will study these samples to understand the different levels of genes within them, where they are located and how they change, and how this differs between the different samples.
Ultimately Dr Cleal will look at the differences between ‘receptive’ womb lining and ‘unreceptive’ womb lining to see if they can find better ways of predicting whether a woman will successfully conceive.
By identifying these differences, Dr Cleal and her team could provide a stepping stone to finding new ways of helping women achieve and keep their pregnancies.
The research will bring doctors and researchers one step closer to being able to provide a more effective way to screen, diagnose and treat women with difficulties in conceiving and maintaining their pregnancy, giving hope to thousands of women.