Hope for a new, accurate, global fertility test

Dr Wei Zhou, a Research Fellow at the Women's
1 November 2023 |

A study into the importance of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) for fertility and pregnancy may lead to a new non-invasive fertility test for women.

Until now, testing endometrial functions in women has been a difficult, invasive and complex process.

In this study, a novel way to measure infertility in women was trialled, by testing secretions from endometrial tissue. The tissues were grown in the lab to become organoids, replicating much of the complexity of the original tissue so it could be studied in more detail.

Tissue organoids from women with primary infertility were compared to tissue organoids from women with more standard fertility.

Lead researcher Dr Wei Zhou, a Research Fellow at the Women’s, said the research found an increase of 19 unique proteins in the secretions from women with primary infertility.

These proteins are in uterine fluid and are thought to influence whether a fertilised egg can implant in the endometrium.

This means that in the future women who are struggling to conceive could have their uterine fluid tested to determine if their endometrial lining is influencing their fertility.

“We know that measuring fertility in women is a difficult and complex process at the best of times, but this study brings us a step closer to providing patients with clear answers,” Dr Zhou said.

“With further targeted research we may see this work translate into a new, accurate and globally available fertility test.

“In the future, we’d love to offer a non-invasive test to women who are struggling to conceive, and confirm whether their endometrial lining is influencing their overall fertility.”

This research was published in Frontiers in Endocrinology.