What are Natural Killer (NK) cells?
The success of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) is contributed by a number of factors, which include the patient profile, uterine (womb) pathology, stimulation protocols, culture conditions, embryo quality and embryo transfer technique.
Implantation of the embryo, which is a prerequisite for successful pregnancy, can only take place in a receptive uterus (womb). In humans, the uterus becomes receptive during the midsecretory phase of the menstrual cycle (days 19 to 23), commonly known as the window of implantation (WOI). It is assumed that inadequate uterine receptivity is responsible for approximately two-thirds of implantation failures.
Although many fertility disorders have been overcome by a variety of assisted reproductive techniques, implantation remains the rate-limiting step for the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Recent developments in reproductive medicine address oocyte (egg) morphology, sperm analysis and embryo selection. However, in a subgroup of infertile couples, it is embryo implantation process that is disrupted. Diagnostic tools to identify patients at risk of implantation failure are limited.
Implantation requires a close interaction between the fetal trophoblast (placenta) and the maternal endometrium (lining of the womb) with natural killer cells (NK cells) playing a main part at the feto-maternal interface during early pregnancy.
There is evidence to suggest that immunological implantation failure and recurrent miscarriages are more than likely mediated through activation of NK cells.
What are Natural Killer cells?
NK cells are a type of lymphocyte - an immune cell - normally circulating in blood. They make up a large part of the immune system. NK cells play a major role in the rejection of tumours and cells infected by viruses. They kill those cells by apoptosis (cell shrinkage).
There is evidence to suggest that an imbalance of activity of NK cells in the blood of some women could be contributing to miscarriage.
More recently, an imbalance in the presence of NK cells was also found in the blood of women whose embryos failed to implant in the womb.
Some clinics offer blood tests to measure the level of NK cells in your blood as well as tests that measure their function. These blood tests will only measure NK cells in the blood and cannot measure or test NK cells in the uterus.
We are the only clinic in the UK that is able to offer Natural Killer Cell Testing as well as Natural Killer Cell blood count and activity tests.
So Call Us Today On 0800 228 9878 or 07860 439 346