Use of 'omics for endometrial timing: the cycle moves on

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For some years, the prospect of precise and personalized timing of the endometrial cycle for optimal embryo replacement has been held out as a potential solution to low implantation rates. It is envisaged that a receptive state can be defined and reached at a predictable time, and embryo replacement performed in synchrony. In the last century, morphological changes characteristic of the mid secretory phase were defined in precisely timed cycles in women of proven fertility, but when deviations from this standardized schedule occur, their significance for implantation has remained uncertain. 'Omics technologies have been widely advocated for staging the endometrial cycle and defining a set of biochemical requirements for implantation, but after two decades of research, improvements to pregnancy rates have not followed, and there is a striking lack of agreement regarding the molecular characterization of the receptive state. Some of the rationale underlying these problems is now emerging with the application of higher-level computational and biological methodology. Here, we consider the challenges of defining an endometrial phenotype that can support implantation and continuing pregnancy. Receptivity may be an emergent trait depending on contributions from multiple proteins that have low pathway connectivity. We recommend that authors choose language which rigorously avoids the implication that protocols for molecular staging of the mid secretory phase inherently identify a state of receptivity to the implanting blastocyst.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-650
Number of pages7
JournalHuman reproduction (Oxford, England)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Blastocyst
  • Embryo Implantation/genetics
  • Embryo Transfer/methods
  • Endometrium/metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate


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