Developing a surgical technique to transfer an implanted embryo/fetus in an ectopic pregnancy, in an animal model

Background: Ectopic pregnancy (the implantation of the embryo outside of the uterus) affects approximately 1 in 40 pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies are a major cause of maternal death during the first trimester of pregnancy. Various conditions can contribute to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, including, but not limited to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pelvic inflammatory disease, and the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Current treatments for ectopic pregnancies, including expectant management, methotrexate administration, and surgical intervention are limited in their abilities to preserve the life of the fetus and potentially the fertility of the mother. Two case studies of successful tubal-to-uterine embryo transfer have been reported in the case of ectopic pregnancies; however, a reproducible technique for embryo/fetus transfer is yet to be described.

Goal of our study: The goal of our study is to investigate the potential for developing a surgical technique that could be used to transfer an embryo/fetus in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. As it is not ethical to conduct this experimentation in humans, the goal of our work is to develop this technique in an animal (the laboratory rat) in the hope that the information can benefit humans.

While the reproductive anatomy of the rat is different from that of the human, its design gives us an opportunity to investigate a scenario that would allow us to understand the potential factors that would be involved in such a transfer. 

In summary, it is our hope that the findings from our study will provide the medical community with a foundation for the further investigation of such a surgical procedure in the human, preserving both the life of the mother and the baby.