Platelet-Rich Plasma or PRP is increasingly being adopted by reproductive specialists across the U.S. as a pathway to supporting egg development for patients undergoing IVF treatment. We asked Elena Trukhacheva, M.D., MSCI who is the President and Medical Director at Reproductive Medicine Institute about offering PRP to her patients.
How do you explain PRP to your fertility patients at RMI?
PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) is a special component of blood that contains a lot of active platelets. During the process, we separate the blood into different fractions, and we use that part of the blood that we know contains these active platelets.
Here’s a simple way to explain it – let’s say you get a cut on your skin. Your body responds by activating platelets on the site of the injury, and these platelets use multiple hormones and other factors, and what the substances do is grow and divide. This is the body’s natural PRP process, healing and rejuvenating the area.
So, not exactly like a stem cell, but it has the potential to heal.
It has the ability to activate stem cells and support cells that are responsible for rejuvenation, growth, and differentiation. It activates the body’s natural forces.
And so where does PRP on ovarian rejuvenation or ovarian stimulation, what’s the mechanism of action there?
I had been hearing about it for a while, and I discovered a study that revealed that PRP is a viable option for infertility patients. There was a study conducted on about 400 women who were menopausal.
Menopausal patients will stop having periods for years, and struggle to get pregnant. The research clinical staff injected PRP into the ovaries, and about 10% of the women injected were able to get pregnant and successfully have a baby.
When I read this study, I was convinced. We inject the PRP close to the cortex of the ovary so that the eggs will be able to grow and develop, which helps the ovarian follicles transition to the next stage. We are attempting to stimulate the eggs using the PRP process.
Is there a particular type of fertility patient that’s a good candidate for PRP?
We don’t typically offer this treatment unless we know that there’s a chance that they can successfully become pregnant. I would say a good candidate is someone who is over 38, a patient with either a very low or irregular egg count.
This seems like an appropriate step for a patient who might not be ready for a donor egg, correct?
Absolutely. This is a situation where we normally recommend donor eggs, but the patient wants to try this as another option for utilizing their own eggs.
Are there side effects patients should be aware of?
It’s your own blood, something that your own body generated. The process is very safe for our patients. It is very similar to egg retrieval, which is a safe procedure carried out by experienced physicians. It’s very unlikely to have any major complications.
From a benefits standpoint, what should patients expect? More eggs? Higher quality eggs? Are there any expectations patients should have after using PRP?
At RMI, we have our own data to show patients. Dozens of our patients have chosen the PRP process, and I’m very impressed with the data we have collected so far. We will have to wait to see the final pregnancy and live birth rates, but we can see an incremental impact now.
Where do you put PRP in the rank of potential impact?
To be honest, we don’t have enough data to show the full impact or outcome, which will take years to collect. In my opinion, it’s a very low risk procedure with some promising outcomes to date. Currently, many of our patients are asking for the procedures as a last resort before seeking a donor, but eventually, we may expand to many other patients where it will become a standard for care.
To learn more about PRP, Dr. Trukhacheva, or Reproductive Medicine Institute visit us at www.reproductivemedicineinstitute.com.