PRP (platelet rich plasma) ovarian rejuvenation therapy or autologous platelet rich plasma ovarian rejuvenation therapy, is a fertility treatment that can be used to help restore ovarian function in women who are experiencing ovarian insufficiency while attempting to get pregnant.
A woman’s supply of eggs, her ovarian reserve, diminishes over time as she approaches menopause. With so many women postponing pregnancy and childbirth till later in life, and thus attempting to get pregnant with a diminished ovarian reserve, infertility treatment that can improve ovarian function and reproductive health is becoming more and more important. Ovarian rejuvenation therapy massively increases the chances of a successful pregnancy in women who are experiencing ovarian aging or poor ovarian function.
As well as being something that occurs naturally over time, the low ovarian reserve can also be a result of premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). Premature ovarian insufficiency is also known as premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency happens when the ovaries stop functioning prematurely, usually before the age of 40. Women with premature ovarian failure (POF) often experience infertility as their hormone levels mean that eggs are not being regularly released.
Premature ovarian failure is not the same as premature menopause as women with POI/POF can still get pregnant and may have irregular periods for many years. However, the signs and symptoms are similar to that of perimenopausal women. Clinical studies looking at platelet rich plasma ovarian rejuvenation have seen encouraging results for women with diminished ovarian reserves caused by either POI/POF or getting close to menopause, making this an exciting area of reproductive medicine.
PRP stands for platelet rich plasma also known as autologous platelet rich plasma. Autologous plasma simply means that it comes from the patient rather than being from a donor. PRP is derived from whole blood taken from the patient, centrifuged to isolate the platelets. These platelets can then be activated and injected into the ovaries.
PRP that has been around for around 30 years and has been used in many different areas of medicine. PRP involves using the growth factors that are released from platelets to enhance the effect of surgical procedures. PRP platelet rich plasma supports healing by promoting new cell growth and improving blood circulation.
Amongst other things autologous platelet-rich plasma treatment has been used by athletes to speed up healing after an injury, it has been used to treat androgenic alopecia, and it has been used to treat osteoarthritis.
A PRP injection is prepared by drawing blood from the patient which is then put into a centrifuge to separate out the red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. PRP platelet rich plasma is extracted and prepared for injection. Platelets are activated so that they will release growth factors and the platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the area requiring treatment, in this case, the ovaries.
In the case of an ovarian injection, a vaginal ultrasound is used to identify the ovaries and ensure the PRP injection is delivered to precisely the right location. This is done without a general anesthetic and is a nearly pain-free procedure meaning patients can receive the treatment within a matter of hours.
When it comes to fertility preservation, platelet-rich plasma PRP aims to do two things. It increases the number of eggs and it increases the quality of the eggs and the embryos both of which are vital for improving fertility. PRP also seems to help reduce miscarriage as there is a better chance of a healthy embryo which is the primary concern for both patients and fertility specialists. This means that it enables women visiting fertility clinics, who may have previously relied on egg donation, to conceive using their own eggs rather than donor eggs.
Once the PRP ovarian rejuvenation procedure has been completed patients are monitored with periodic blood testing to look at the hormones that reflect ovarian function. Response time varies between women varying from a very quick response to a few months. Once a positive response is detected IVF or other treatment can then proceed.
The fact that PRP injections are autologous, meaning they contain substances that come directly from your own body, means there is very little risk of rejection making this a safe procedure for most women.
PRP ovarian rejuvenation is suitable for most women who are concerned they either do not have enough eggs or that the eggs they have are not high enough quality. Ovarian rejuvenation clinical trials have shown that PRP is associated with ovarian function which helps with IVF, hormone treatments, and other fertility treatments. The oocytes retrieved can be used for IVF treatment or egg freezing.
Ovarian rejuvenation may be beneficial for women who are looking to conceive naturally, who have a low egg reserve as indicated by fertility testing showing low anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) levels, have experienced multiple IVF failures, or have been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure.
Ovarian rejuvenation may also be used by women who do not have fertility concerns as recent studies have shown benefits including improved sex drive, better sleep, and better energy levels without the need for hormonal treatments.
Autologous platelet-rich plasma treatment works by using ultrasound guidance to give an intraovarian injection of autologous platelet-rich plasma. This platelet rich plasma contains a number of growth factors that stimulate cell regeneration as well as improving blood supply and vascularization.
While studies have shown a positive ovarian response to PRP injections it is unclear whether eggs recovered after treatment were there all along and simply activated by the treatment, or whether there was interaction with ovarian stem cells leading to the creation of more eggs.
Ovarian failure is a natural part of aging and rejuvenation treatments cannot stop this process from happening indefinitely. Although there is limited data available as clinical trials are still ongoing.
Because it is not known exactly how long ovarian rejuvenation will last, patients who have had a positive response to treatment are encouraged to undergo IVF, embryo freezing, or other treatments with minimal delay. Success rates are variable and some women may wish to undergo more than one treatment.
The regenerative effect on ovarian tissue may mean that if the fallopian tubes are open and male fertility is not an issue couples that were not previously able to conceive are able to conceive naturally. This removes the need for IVF clinical intervention and embryo transfer which can further increase the chances of pregnancy and live birth.
Further research is needed into exactly how PRP ovarian rejuvenation works. Until relatively recently it was understood that women are born with a finite number of eggs and that the body was unable to generate new eggs. These eggs are released by the ovaries at each menstrual period until such time as menopause is reached.
Recent studies however have shown the existence of ovarian stem cells in adult mice that could differentiate into functional eggs and give rise to viable embryos. If human ovarian stem cells exist and can perform in the same way then it is possible that they are stimulated by PRP therapy and that the effects of ovarian rejuvenation could be much longer-lasting.
Gen 5 Fertility are world leaders in Ovarian rejuvenation and offer not only PRP ovarian rejuvenation therapy but also EPF (enriched platelet factors) including EnPLAF and ULTRA. All are used to improve poor human ovarian function with the latest Gen 4 treatment being specifically designed to help women who are reproductively older in particular those who have very low levels of Anti-Mullerian hormone, a marker for ovarian reserve, and those with a very low antral follicle count (AFC).
EPF is an enhanced form of PRP that injects highly enriched growth factors without the platelets. The procedure starts in the same way as PRP and the intra-ovarian injection is the same, but the platelets are incubated for a number of hours and it is the growth factors themselves rather than the platelets that are injected. ULTRA is our most advanced treatment, a procedure that combines both PRP and EPF.
Gen 5 Fertility’s success also relies on how the procedures are delivered. Gen 5 Fertility are world leaders in ultrasound-guided ovarian rejuvenation and are committed to improving the effectiveness of the procedures.