Endometrial and vaginal microbiomes influence assisted reproductive technology outcomes

JBRA Assist Reprod. 2022 Dec 5. doi: 10.5935/1518-0557.20220040. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The role of Lactobacillus-dominant microbiota in the endometrium in reproductive function is unclear. We therefore aimed to explore the impact of the balance of Lactobacillus and pathological bacteria in the endometrial and vaginal microbiomes on the pregnancy outcomes of women treated with assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Methods: This study included 35 women with infertility submitted to good-quality embryo transfers. The cutoff values for abundance of Lactobacillus species (spp.) and pathological bacteria in the endometrium and vagina were calculated. Women with Lactobacillus spp. and pathological bacteria abundance above the cutoff values were categorized in the high-abundance group, whereas those with abundance below cutoff values were categorized in the low abundance group. We divided the patients into four groups based on the combination of high/low abundance of Lactobacillus spp. and pathological bacteria.

Results: The 35 cases of good-quality embryo transfer resulted in 21 pregnancies. Pregnant women were present in significantly higher proportions in the high Lactobacillus spp. abundance and low pathological bacteria abundance group, whereas the opposite combination (i.e., low Lactobacillus spp. abundance and high pathological bacteria abundance) saw a significantly higher proportion of nonpregnant women (p=0.022).

Conclusions: The balance between Lactobacillus and pathological bacterial abundance in the endometrial and vaginal microbiomes is associated with pregnancy from ART.

Keywords: Endometrium; assisted reproductive technology; in vitro fertilization; microbiota; pregnancy; vagina.