Distinct gut and vaginal microbiota profile in women with recurrent implantation failure and unexplained infertility

BMC Womens Health. 2022 Apr 12;22(1):113. doi: 10.1186/s12905-022-01681-6.


Background: Female reproductive tract dysbiosis impacts implantation. However, whether gut dysbiosis influences implantation failure and whether it accompanies reproductive tract dysbiosis remains scantly explored. Herein, we examined the gut-vaginal microbiota axis in infertile women.

Methods: We recruited 11 fertile women as the controls, and a cohort of 20 infertile women, 10 of whom had recurrent implantation failure (RIF), and another 10 had unexplained infertility (UE). Using amplicon sequencing, which employs PCR to create sequences of DNA called amplicon, we compared the diversity, structure, and composition of faecal and vaginal bacteria of the controls with that of the infertile cohort. Of note, we could only sequence 8 vaginal samples in each group (n = 24/31).

Result: Compared with the controls, α-diversity and β-diversity of the gut bacteria among the infertile groups differed significantly (p < 0.05). Taxa analysis revealed enrichment of Gram-positive bacteria in the RIF group, whereas Gram-negative bacteria were relatively abundant in the UE group. Strikingly, mucus-producing genera declined in the infertile cohort (p < 0.05). Hungatella, associated with trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) production, were enriched in the infertile cohort (p < 0.05). Vaginal microbiota was dominated by the genus Lactobacillus, with Lactobacillus iners AB-1 being the most abundant species across the groups. Compared with the infertile cohort, overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria, associated with vaginal dysbiosis, such as Leptotrichia and Snethia, occurred in the controls.

Conclusion: The gut microbiota had little influence on the vaginal microbiota. Gut dysbiosis and vaginal eubiosis occurred in the infertile women, whereas the opposite trend occurred in the controls.

Keywords: Dysbiosis; Gut microbiota; Implantation failure; Infertility; Vaginal microbiota.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dysbiosis / complications
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female*
  • Microbiota*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Vagina / microbiology


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S