There are many different things involved in a successful embryo transfer, whether it’s a part of a surrogacy or in vitro fertilization process. Therefore, it’s important that all intended parents and surrogates talk in detail with their fertility specialist about the path ahead of them — everything that they should know before starting this complicated medical process.
If you are a surrogate, you may have come across a lot of information about uterine lining in your research. Many surrogates religiously track their uterine lining up until their embryo transfer process, which may make you wonder, “What is the big deal about uterine lining in surrogacy?”
As always, we recommend you speak with a fertility specialist or gynecologist for the most accurate information about what the thickness of uterine lining will mean in your situation. In the meantime, you can find the basic things you need to know below.
What Role Does Uterine Lining Play in IVF?
Every surrogacy (and every IVF) process requires the transfer and eventual implantation of an embryo to be successful. While the quality of the embryo plays a large role in whether it implants in the uterus, one of the other important factors in this process is the thickness of a woman’s uterine lining.
If a uterine lining is too thin, it can lead to failed implantation or even early pregnancy loss. A thick uterine lining provides a safe and welcoming environment for a transferred embryo, making it easier for the embryo to implant into the walls of the uterus. This thicker lining will provide nourishment to the embryo as it grows, making it more likely that a successful pregnancy can be carried to term.
Before you start your journey as a surrogate, your fertility specialist will likely conduct a few tests beforehand to ensure your uterus is ready for this process. These tests will also be completed again before an embryo is transferred to your uterus.
What Numbers Should You Look for in Your Uterine Lining?
Remember, every woman is different, and only your doctor can accurately explain what your uterine lining should look like before implantation. In general, studies have shown that a uterine lining should be 6 or more millimeters for successful implantation. An ideal lining is at least 7 to 8 millimeters thick.
The quality of a uterine lining refers to more than just thickness, however. In order for the correct thickness to be present in the first place, there must be the correct tissue structure, the right receptors within the uterus, and the right balance of hormones. This is why surrogates are often required to take estrogen and progesterone prior to embryo transfer — to regulate the proper hormone balance for a hospitable womb.
You may also hear the phrase “triple stripe” from others going through the IVF and surrogacy process. This refers to the structure of the lining in the uterus. A more receptive lining has a tri-laminar appearance, usually three lines right on top of each other. Again, your medical professional will look for this three-layer appearance before beginning the embryo transfer process.
How Can You Improve Your Uterine Lining?
In most cases, the thickness of a woman’s lining is out of her control. It’s something that is regulated by her own body and hormones prescribed by her doctor. Every body is different, which means that one woman may naturally have a better uterine lining than another.
Before you start researching ways to improve your uterine lining, we encourage you speak with your fertility specialist or medical professional. You should not take medical advice from anyone other than this professional.
That said, there are a few things that may help improve your uterine lining — and certainly won’t harm it:
- Partake in regular, moderate exercise to get your blood flowing throughout your body.
- Eliminate or limit substances that may restrict blood flow, such as caffeine, nicotine, seasonal allergy medications and cold remedies to stop nasal swelling.
- Consider acupuncture.
- Think about your body weight; extra weight and fat cells can promote pelvic blood flow and additional estrogen.
- Look into nutritional supplements such as vitamin E and L-arginine.
Your doctor can give you the best idea of what steps might be helpful in your situation. At the end of the day, however, stressing out about the thickness of your uterine lining will do more harm than good. What will be will be — an important thing to learn early on in a surrogacy journey.
To learn more about the medical process of surrogacy, we encourage you to contact a local fertility specialist or one of our agency’s surrogacy specialists today.