Instituto Bernabeu analyses if probiotics for vaginal health improve results in assisted reproduction treatment

  • 03-02-2020

Instituto Bernabeu has undertaken a research project that aims to analyse if using probiotics could improve pregnancy rates in assisted reproduction treatment. To this end, the clinic has performed a study involving a group of patients with a recurrent implantation failure (RIF) diagnosis, plus another group of patients with no such diagnosis.

The researchers have based their work on the premise that a microbial balance (eubiosis condition) in the vagina plays an essential role in women’s reproductive health. Previous studies performed by Instituto Bernabeu showed that a microbial imbalance in the vagina (dysbiosis), including a reduction in beneficial species such as Lactobacillus spp. and the presence of damaging bacteria, could alter assisted reproduction treatment results. Next-generation sequencing techniques (NGS) and analysis of the 16S rRNA gene provide a powerful tool for assessing and analysing microbiome patterns.

The study is being led by Dr Andrea Bernabeu, Coordinator of the Genetics and Reproduction Assessment Unit at Instituto Bernabeu, Dr Belén Lledó, Director of the Genetics and Molecular Biology Laboratory, and biologist Mayka Díaz. It shows an increase in the percentage of the relative abundance of Lactobacillus spp. following treatment with probiotics for vaginal health in both study groups (RIF and non RIF patients). “Such an improvement in the vaginal microbiome pattern may be linked to improvements in implantation rates in patients undergoing assisted reproduction treatment,” the molecular biologist points out. In addition, a decrease in Gardnerella spp., which is linked to damaging effects on women's reproductive health, would also make a positive contribution towards improving results because of the decreased relative abundance.

“El uso de probióticos podría mejorar los resultados en los tratamientos de reproducción asistida modulando el patrón de microbioma vaginal”

M. Díaz, B. Lledó, A. Bernabeu, JA Ortiz, V Ruiz, FM Lozano, J. Ten, J. Llácer, R. Bernabeu