For over 20 years, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been used in different fields of medicine to promote cell growth and healing. In the past several years, research has found PRP of the ovary or uterus can have the same benefits for patients struggling to have a baby. There are different ways in which PRP can be used to improve fertility depending on your situation. We at Barbados Fertility Centre want to give you the best chance of success and maybe PRP is right for you.
What is PRP?
How is PRP prepared?
Step 1: Our staff member will collect your blood much like if you were having a blood test.
Step 2: Your blood is centrifuged (put in a machine that spins very quickly causing the different components of blood to separate).
Step 3: A lab technician places the final PRP into a device for the doctor.
How is PRP used?
PRP of the ovary for low egg reserve or diminished ovarian reserve (DOR):
PRP can be used for those patients with a low AMH or who have had very few eggs retrieved at the time of IVF egg collection in the past. This is one of the most exciting benefits of PRP as there are very few other options for improving egg numbers.
To improve egg numbers, a small amount of PRP (usually 1-3 mLs) is injected directly into the ovaries. This procedure is done under light sedation by a physician. During the procedure, a needle with the PRP is guided via ultrasound through the vaginal wall and into the ovaries where the PRP will then be deposited. This process is very similar to an egg retrieval or egg collection.
The procedure is ideally done one, two, and or three months PRIOR to the start of an IVF stimulation. It may be done at the time of an egg retrieval, but the benefit would likely only be seen in a future IVF cycle as it takes some time for the egg numbers to improve.
PRP of the uterus for thin uterine lining and recurrent implantation failure:
PRP has shown two potential benefits for the uterus. Some women have thin uterine linings often due to previous uterine surgery (for example Asherman Syndrome). In this situation, PRP would be prepared in the fashion described above. The PRP would then be infused into the uterus (much like an embryo transfer procedure) using a small catheter. Your lining will then be rechecked 48-72 hours later and if the lining remains inadequate, a second infusion may be performed.
If you have had multiple embryo transfers and not had a successful pregnancy, you may have recurrent implantation failure (RIF). For patients with RIF, PRP is typically infused into the uterus 48-72 hours prior to the anticipated embryo transfer. In either situation, you will rest for 10 mins afterwards and can return to normal activity.