The Impact of Female Genital Microbiota on Fertility and Assisted Reproductive Treatments
Objective: To review publish data about human microbiome. It is known to modulate many body functions. In the field of Reproductive Medicine, the main question is in what extent may female genital tract microbiome influence fertility, both by spontaneous conception or after Assisted Reproductive Treatments (ART). The aim of this work is to review publish data about this matter.
Materials and methods: This is a systematic review on the effect of the microbiota of the female genital tract on human fertility and on the outcomes of ART.
Results: Fourteen articles were retrieved, concerning female lower genital tract and endometrium microbiota, including 5 case-controls studies about its impact on fertility, 8 cohort studies regarding ART outcomes and 1 mixed study. The main variables considered were richness and diversity of species, Lactobacillus dominance and the role of other bacteria. Results and conclusions of the various studies were quite diverse and incoherent. Despite the inconsistency of the studies, it seems that vaginal, cervical and endometrial microbiome may eventually play a role. Whether high richness and diversity of species, low amounts of Lactobacillus spp. or the presence of other bacteria, such as Gardnerella spp., may adversely affect reproductive outcomes is not clear. Conclusion: The influence of female genital microbiota on the ability to conceive is still unclear, due to the paucity and inconsistency of published data.
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