Autologous Endometrial Coculture (AECC)

Definition - What does Autologous Endometrial Coculture (AECC) mean?

Autologous endometrial coculture (AECC) is an advanced method of assisted reproduction that involves placing a woman’s fertilized eggs on a layer of cells grown from her own uterine lining (endometrium), mimicking the environment of natural embryo development. This doubles the odds of a normal, healthy pregnancy. The improved embryo quality achieved by coculture has been noted to increase the clinical pregnancy rate from 0% to 26.6% in women who failed IVF twice and up to 88.5% whose IVF failure is due to poor embryo quality.

FertilitySmarts explains Autologous Endometrial Coculture (AECC)

The AECC mimics a natural pregnancy as the embryo is allowed to develop in the vicinity of a woman's uterine lining. After determining a patient is an appropriate candidate, the technique of coculture is as follows:

  1. To perform a coculture, the doctor first collects a small sample of the endometrium at a certain day of the menstrual cycle via an outpatient procedure called endometrial biopsy.
  2. The collected sample is sent to a research lab, where it is purified and frozen.
  3. Conventional IVF medications are then given to the woman to stimulate the growth of eggs in her ovaries.
  4. These eggs are then retrieved and fertilized with the sperm in the lab, and simultaneously the collected endometrial cells are thawed.
  5. After fertilization, the embryos are positioned on top of the cultured woman’s own endometrial cells.
  6. Once developed, the embryos are transferred into the woman's uterus for implantation and hopefully pregnancy.

In a study conducted to compare the embryologic outcome of blastocysts cultured in autologous endometrial coculture and those cultured in a sequential system, it was a seen that embryos cultured in AECC were significantly better than embryos of sequential culture media. Pregnancy rates with the use of AECC were 39 percent compared to the 28 percent rate in the case of sequential culture media. Similarly, implantation rates of AECC embryos were higher (33%) as compared to sequential system embryos.

Coculture is generally a safe procedure and does not cause any problems.

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