An endometrial biopsy can provide important information about fertility struggles
A successful pregnancy requires more than just an egg and sperm. It also needs a receptive uterine environment. Without it, the growing embryo cannot implant and develop into a healthy baby. At Texas Fertility Center (TFC), our San Antonio fertility doctor, Erika Munch MD, sometimes recommends an endometrial biopsy to gain more information about a patient’s uterine lining (endometrium).
What is an endometrial biopsy?
This test involves removing a small piece of tissue from the uterine lining. The goal is to determine whether there are any issues with the endometrium that could be causing infertility. Those issues can range from structural problems, such as endometrial polyps or fibroids, to signs of a uterine infection or inflammation. This test can also measure the level of production of certain proteins that are necessary for implantation.
In the event that the test reveals any abnormalities, Dr. Munch can initiate treatment that will correct these problems before the embryo transfer.
Who should have this test and what does it entail?
Our San Antonio fertility doctor may recommend an endometrial biopsy for various reasons.
- Abnormal bleeding
- A history of repeated embryo implantation failure
- An endometrium that’s either too thick or too thin, as shown on your ultrasound
If Dr. Munch determines this test is right for you, you will come to her office on a very specific day in your cycle for the procedure. She will first insert a speculum to visualize the cervix before cleaning the area to prevent infection. Next, she will insert a catheter (a thin, flexible plastic tube) into the uterus. She will then use mild suction to remove a uterine lining sample. Due to the use of suction, you should only have this procedure if you are not currently pregnant.
After obtaining the tissue specimen, it will be sent to a specialized laboratory for analysis. The results will help Dr. Munch make personalized treatment recommendations for you.
- If you have fibroids or polyps, she may suggest minimally invasive surgery to remove them.
- Should the biopsy detect infection or inflammation, Dr. Munch may prescribe a short course of antibiotics or anti-inflammatories.
- If the protein expression is abnormal, she may decide to adjust the hormone regimen that you will take prior to your embryo transfer.
The bottom line is that this simple procedure allows Dr. Munch to eliminate many variables that could lower your chance for a successful pregnancy.
What happens after the procedure?
Our San Antonio fertility doctor performs this test in the office. While it typically does cause mild uterine cramping, it should go away almost immediately. Also, you shouldn’t need anything stronger than ibuprofen for the discomfort, if you need any medication at all. The procedure takes 5 minutes, and you can return to work afterwards.
For a few days after the procedure, it’s normal to have some minimal vaginal bleeding. As a result, our team recommends wearing a pad during this time. You should avoid using tampons or having sex for two to three days. After that, you should be able to return to your normal activities.