Conceiving a child is extremely elusive for some. Hence, advanced technologies like IVF treatment comes as a wonderful gift to them. However, not all women are able to successfully get pregnant despite such assisted reproductive techniques.

Doctors have been baffled as to why some women still fail to conceive even if a healthy embryo is present. Now, researchers from the University of Southampton, University Medical Center Utrecht and University of Amsterdam discovered that women who have never become pregnant carry a genetic fingerprint in the womb, which seems to prevent successful pregnancy.

Study co-leader Nick Macklon says their research could pave the way for the development of a new test that can predict if a woman will get pregnant through IVF treatment.

Among all of the study subjects with repetitive implantation failures, 80 percent were found to have an abnormal gene profile. Interestingly, the said gene was not detected in women who were able to successfully conceive and give birth via IVF treatment.

"The gene signature will be of value in counselling and guiding further treatment of women who fail to conceive upon IVF and suggests new avenues for developing intervention," the authors wrote.

To come up with their findings, the researchers performed biopsy tests on womb lining specimens of 43 women with recurrent failed implantation. Recurrent implantation failure is defined as having failed pregnancy despite at least three healthy embryo transfers or at least 10 embryo transfers.

The researchers also tested samples from women who were able to successfully give birth via IVF.

Macklon says their study could serve as a guide for women before they decide to undergo or continue IVF treatments. Patients who have had unsuccessful IVF treatments but do not carry the genetic fingerprint may be encouraged to continue as they have better chances of success.

The paper could also help doctors provide clearer information as they counsel their patients about the time, effort and funds entailed in ongoing therapy.

Macklon says that while he and his colleagues believe their work is a great step toward fertility research, they still need to study the effectiveness of the discovery in a larger scale study.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports on Friday, Jan. 22.

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