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Hyaluronate enriched medium

Treatment add-on

Hyaluronate enriched medium is rated amber

Hyaluronate enriched medium is rated amber

Amber

What does this traffic light rating mean?

The traffic light rating system consists of three colours that indicate whether the evidence, in the form of high-quality randomised control trials (RCTs), shows that a treatment add-on can safely improve the live birth rate for someone undergoing fertility treatment.

We give an amber symbol for an add-on where there is conflicting evidence to show that an add-on can improve live birth rates, or that the add-on is safe for patients to use. This means that the evidence is not conclusive and further research is required, and the add-on should not be recommended for routine use.

What is hyaluronate enriched medium?

Hyaluronate enriched medium contains a substance called hyaluronan, which may improve the chance of the embryo implanting in the womb. It is added to the solution in the dish in which the embryos are kept before being transferred to the patient. Embryo glue is an example of a hyaluronate enriched medium.

Are there any risks?

There are no known risks from using hyaluronate enriched medium.

What’s the evidence for Hyaluronate enriched medium?

At the October 2019 Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee (SCAAC) meeting the Committee evaluated the evidence base for hyaluronate enriched medium. Minutes of this discussion and the evidence used to inform this discussion is available here.

There is one high quality study in this review which shows that the use of hyaluronate enriched medium improves live birth rates, other studies in the review were of moderate quality. Further high-quality studies are needed before doctors can be confident of the benefits of hyaluronate enriched medium.

What are treatment add-ons?

Treatment add-ons are optional additional treatments that you may be offered on top of your routine fertility treatment, often at an additional cost. Some clinics may refer to treatments add-ons as ‘supplementary’ or ‘embryology treatments’. There are a wide range of treatment add-ons on offer including tests, drugs, equipment, holistic or alternative therapies, and surgical interventions.

However, all treatment add-ons share one common characteristic: they claim to improve the chances of having a baby (live birth rate). Evidence on whether some treatment add-ons are safe or effective is often missing or absent. These claims can attract a lot of attention with many patients opting for a treatment add-on thinking that it may be the best option for them despite there being little or no evidence to prove it is.

Treatment add-ons have varying levels of scientific evidence to support their effectiveness and safety and, at times, this evidence can be contradictory. It is important to keep in mind that for most patients, routine fertility treatment is an effective option on its own.

We aim to publish clear and reliable information about some of the treatment add-ons that lack sufficient evidence to show that they are effective and/or safe. This allows patients to make an informed decision about whether using a treatment add-on as part of their treatment is the best option for them.

To make it easier to understand the scientific evidence for each treatment add-on we have developed the HFEA’s traffic-light rated list of add-ons.

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Review date: 25 August 2022

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