The importance of the endometrium
When an egg is fertilised, it is then implanted into the inner lining of the uterus, which is called the endometrium. The endometrium needs to have attained a certain thickness, ideally 10mm, in order for implantation to be successful.
Endometriosis is a common chronic condition where tissue that behaves like the endometrium is found outside the womb in various other areas of the body. It’s estimated to affect around two million women in the UK, most of whom are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 40.
Though there is no known cure, some of the symptoms of endometriosis can be managed through medication. However, one of the main complications that arises because of endometriosis is difficulty getting pregnant or not being able to get pregnant at all. Women who suffer from endometrial scarring and a number of unexplained conditions where the endometrium is affected can also experience problems getting pregnant.
IVF – Only half the answer
IVF stands for in vitro fertilisation, which is a medical procedure whereby an egg or eggs are removed from a woman’s ovaries and fertilised by sperm in a test tube or similar. In vitro, which means “in glass” in Latin, is used today to refer to the fact that the fertilisation process is happening outside the body in a laboratory.
The fertilised egg or zygote is cultured for two to six days in an artificial growth medium. Once the zygote begins to divide, it becomes an embryo. The embryo is then transferred to the same or another woman’s uterus in the hope of establishing a pregnancy.
Where the problem is with the fertilisation process itself, IVF is a viable option. But what if the problem is not with fertilisation, but with implantation of the embryo? For many women, fertilisation is successful but the embryo cannot successfully implant because of issues with or damage to the endometrium. In these circumstances, IVF on its own does not often make much of a difference.
The effects of hyperbaric oxygen on fertility rates and IVF
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a simple, pain-free and non-invasive way of enriching the body with more oxygen than it can absorb through ordinary respiration. HBOT involves entering a purpose-built hyperbaric chamber and breathing in 100% oxygen at higher-than-normal atmospheric pressures. The pressure conditions increase the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen, allowing all of the body’s tissues to become saturated with it. In essence, you become hyperoxygenated.
HBOT is known for its ability to neutralise or correct the majority of the symptoms of endometriosis, increasing your chances of becoming pregnant. Patients can either choose to rely on HBOT alone, or use it as a complementary remedy alongside other fertility treatments, procedures and technologies, such as IVF.
HBOT improves fertility rates by:
increasing endometrial thickness to enable implantation
healing endometrial scars
extinguishing fertility-inhibiting toxins produced by endometrial lesions
increasing blood and oxygen supply to the ovaries and endometrium
regulating the hormonal system
J. Leverment et al at the Department of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine, Prince of Wales Hospital, in Australia, explored the effects of HBOT on a 32-year-old woman who suffered from endometrial scarring, finding the following:
Subsequently, Ana Mitrović et al at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, undertook a controlled study looking at the effects of HBOT on 32 women with unexplained infertility over a three-year period. Following HBOT, endometrial thickness and receptivity were significantly improved and the chances of getting pregnant increased. Conversely, a control group who breathed in oxygen in normal pressure conditions saw no improvement or increase in the thickness of the endometrium. These results led the researchers to classify Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as the “therapy of choice” for endometrium-related infertility.
At the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Centre in Chelsea, London, HBOT is administered by renowned hyperbaric expert Robert Pender, in state-of-the-art, single-person chambers. Our maximum pressure conditions are more than most clinics offer and allow your body to absorb 10-15 times more oxygen than normal, giving your chances of conceiving a baby a powerful boost.