What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
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Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is when blood is extracted from the patient themselves and is placed into a special tube that is called centrifugation. Its main contents are platelets (major blood element responsible for clotting) and mononuclear cell groups. In addition, it contains many factors found in the blood and tissue that are needed for regeneration.
PRP is used in many areas in the medical field and it is used to help the regeneration of cells as well as tissue repair (skin rejuvenation, accelerating wound healing, orthopaedic applications, dental applications etc…). There have been more recent and promising studies of the use of PRP within the IVF field showing evidence of its healing and beneficial effects.
In IVF, PRP can be applied into the uterus and to the ovaries. For patients with womb lining thickness problems or intrauterine adhesions due to previous procedures that have caused harm, the additional PRP treatment has been shown to contribute to increased thickness and renewal of the uterine lining.
Declining egg quality as well as reduction in the egg reserve that is seen in women due to advancing age or other reasons (previous surgery, endometriosis, radiotherapy-chemotherapy, etc.) are the most important factors affecting the success of IVF treatment. There are many scientific articles showing that PRP may have a curative effect in women with reduced egg reserve.
Recent studies have shown that even in menopausal women, there may still be egg-producing stem cells within the ovaries. Researchers have provided serious results obtained from these cells indicating that they can re-experience egg production under the appropriate conditions.
PRP itself is not stem cell treatment, but with its content it aims to ensure that the cells within the ovary are rejuvenated for egg cell production.
Egg production can be improved by optimizing the conditions of the ovarian microenvironment, which is affected due to advancing age or other factors within the ovary, and applying various growth factors to the ovary can help aid this.
Since the patient’s own blood is used for the procedure, PRP itself does not carry a risk of infection.
Approximately 15 cc of blood is collected from the patient for the PRP process and centrifugation is performed within special tubes. After approximately 30-45 minutes the PRP will be ready to be administered.
There is no need for anaesthesia or sedation during PRP administration to the ovaries or into the uterus unless the patient suffers from vaginismus or other problems that will mean they cannot be awake for the procedure.
If the intrauterine administration is to be performed, the bladder should ideally be full, this makes the procedure easier. A speculum is applied to the vagina in order to open the cervix and PRP is gently applied into the uterus with very thin catheters called transfer catheters. After the procedure, the patient rests for a while and is then free to go.
Patients who wish to have PRP applied to the ovaries are prepared on the gynaecological table similar to the egg collection process and the vagina is carefully cleaned with antiseptic solution to prevent any inflammatory conditions.
PRP is applied to both ovaries via needle with the guidance of ultrasound, also used when collecting eggs. The procedure is painless and may cause a slight tingling sensation in the groin. There is no bleeding after the procedure.
While the ovaries develop, there is up to a two month wait that should not be checked or followed by an ultrasound (Selection and maturation).
It is recommended to wait for two months after the PRP procedure and then look to start the IVF procedure, the aim is to get the maximum benefit from the effects of PRP.
Depending on the outcome and circumstances of the PRP growth hormones in the form of injections may also be added to the treatment, in small doses.
Patients looking to undergo Ovarian PRP treatment do not need to wait for the menstrual bleed and can have the treatment carried out at any point of the cycle.
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