Author Interviews, Fertility / 02.05.2023 Interview with: Arshia Sandozi, DO, MPH Urology Resident at Maimonides Medical Center Interested in health disparities, equity, and policy What is the background for this study? Response: Infertility affects 12-15% of heterosexual couples and can be a devastating diagnosis.  Healthcare for infertility can be costly, and is not always covered by insurance. This is troubling because the median cost for a procedure like in vitro fertilization is more than nineteen thousand dollars per cycle and most people require more than one cycle before a live birth. (more…)
Fertility, OBGYNE / 17.02.2021

Not being able to have biological children is a fear most people hope they never to have to face. fertility-pregnancy-IVFAlthough we might not all have grown up knowing for sure if children were in our future, or already have our baby names picked out - James if it’s a boy Violet if it’s a girl - having the decision whether or not to have children taken away from us, due to biological issues inside our bodies, can be devastating. When trying to have children, it can of course, become very frustrating when you aren’t getting pregnant. If you find this is the case, it is recommended that you go to the doctor after one year of failing to conceive. It’s always a good idea to get tested to really understand what is happening in your body. The main signs a woman may be infertile is if her menstrual cycles are too long (35 days or more) or are too short (21 days or less). When going for fertility tests, it is good to have an idea of what to expect. For women, samples of blood will most likely be tested to check for the presence of the hormone Progesterone. For men, a semen sample is obtained for analysis, checking its quality and quantity. Sitting in a waiting room waiting for the results of yet more testing takes its toll, and it’s easy to feel helpless as the image of the life you had planned drifts further out of reach. Luckily nowadays, these results don’t have to be so final as we finally have other options. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Fertility, Technology / 16.09.2020 Interview with: Hadi Shafiee, PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are some of the characteristics that AI uses to identify blastocysts witha better chance of successful implantation?  Response: In-vitro fertilization (IVF), while a solution to many infertile couples is still extremely inefficient with a success rate of nearly 30% and is both mentally, physically, and economically taxing to patients. The IVF process involves the insemination of eggs and the culture of embryos externally in a fertility lab before transferring the developed embryo to the mother. A major challenge in the field is deciding on the embryos that need to be transferred during IVF, such that chances of a healthy birth are maximal and any complications for both mother and child are minimal. Currently, the tools available to embryologists when making such are extremely limited and expensive, and thus, most embryologists are required to make these life-altering decisions using only their observational skills and expertise. In such scenarios, their decision-making process is extremely subjective and tends to be variable. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, STD / 13.05.2020 Interview with: Gregory Kaufman, M.D. Senior Vice President Global Clinical and Medical Affairs Specialty at Lupin What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by trichomoniasis?  How common is this infection? Response: The Phase 3 trial evaluated the effectiveness and safety of a single oral dose of Solosec® (secnidazole) 2g oral granules for the treatment of trichomoniasis in adult women. Top-line results were positive and showed that Solosec was generally well-tolerated. Trichomoniasis is the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S., and is caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.[i] Trichomoniasis affects 3 to 5 million people in the U.S.,[ii] and is four- to five-times more prevalent in in women, compared to men.[iii]. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Fertility, OBGYNE / 11.12.2019 Interview with: Marie Hargreave, PhD Senior Researcher Danish Cancer Society Research Center Copenhagen What is the background for this study? Response: Very few studies have examined the association between frozen embryo transfer and the risk of childhood cancer and most of them have been too small to show any effects. In our large nationwide population based study we found that frozen embryo replacement was associated with an increased risk of childhood cancer and especially for leukemia and neuroblastomas. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 19.03.2019 Interview with: Prof. Daniel R Brison PhD, FRCPath Scientific Director Department of Reproductive Medicine Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Old St. Mary's Hospital Manchester U.K and Catherine M Castillo PhD Maternal & Fetal Health Research Centre Division of Developmental Biology and Medicine School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health The University of Manchester What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: IVF conceived children have been known to have poorer birth outcomes when compared to spontaneously conceived children. Even when excluding twins and triplets, which result from more complicated pregnancies, IVF singletons have an increased risk of low birth weight and being born small for “dates” (length of gestation).  This is important as studies carried out in non-IVF children show that low birth weight is associated with slightly higher risk of disease in later life. We knew from the literature that birth outcomes differed within the IVF population depending on the type of treatment used; for example, singletons conceived from frozen/thawed embryos are born with higher average birth weights when compared to their fresh embryo conceived counterparts. Our research team wanted to investigate whether IVF practices and technologies per se (which have advanced quite rapidly over the years since 1978 when the first IVF baby was conceived) were associated with differences in singleton birth weight. In attempting to quantify historical changes in laboratory practice going back as far as we could, we discovered that our outcome of interest – birth weight – had indeed increased notably throughout the time period covered by the available data. Besides observing an increase in birth weight of almost 180g over the study period (when accounting for child gender, gestational age and maternal parity), we also observed that frozen embryo transfer was associated with higher birth weight, and spontaneous fetal reduction and longer duration of infertility were associated with lower average birth weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Nature / 09.06.2018 Interview with: Tomer Avidor-Reiss, Ph.D.  Professor, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Department of Biological Sciences University of Toledo Toledo, OH 43606 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Most dividing cells in the body need exactly two centrioles for normal cell division and development. Abnormalities in centriole number can cause cancer and devastating developmental defects. Because of this importance of centriole number and because all cells originate from the zygote – the product of the sperm and egg – it makes sense that the zygote should possess two centrioles, as well. However, the egg does not contain any centrioles, so the sperm is the sole contributor of the centrioles; and yet, it is currently thought that the sperm contains only one centriole. This is problematic because supposedly that leaves the zygote with only one centriole, even though it must propagate cells with two centrioles. In the past, we found that insect sperm have an atypical centriole that escaped discovery because it is so different. We therefore hypothesized that humans may also have an atypical sperm centriole. Our new paper shows that in human sperm there exists, in addition to the known centriole, a second centriole that deviates from the typical structural and composition that is expected from a centriole. Although it looks very different from any centriole ever described, we found that it functions in an in vitro functional assay. Furthermore, during fertilization, it performs the functions traditionally associated with centrioles. Together, this resolves a 50-year-long debate regarding the centrioles of human sperm; the sperm contains two functional centrioles, despite that one is atypical.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Genetic Research, NEJM, University of Pittsburgh / 04.06.2015

Alexander N Yatsenko, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of OBGYN and Reproductive Science, Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh, PA  Pittsburgh, PA Interview with: Alexander N Yatsenko, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of OBGYN and Reproductive Science, Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh, PA Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yatsenko: The known causes of male infertility not due to physical obstruction are usually because of sex-chromosome defects, such as deletions of the Y chromosome or duplication of the entire X chromosome in Klinefelter syndrome. Eight times out of 10, conventional genetic testing doesn’t reveal a chromosomal problem and infertility is considered idiopathic. We wanted to try to find other genetic reasons for the problem. We found a deletion in part of the DNA coding of the testis-expressed gene 11 (TEX11) on the X-chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers. The alteration caused meiotic arrest, meaning the precursor cells could not properly undergo meiosis. We also found similar TEX11 gene mutations and meiotic arrest in two out of 49 men diagnosed with idiopathic azoospermia in Pittsburgh or at a Poland infertility clinic, and in five out of 240 infertile men assessed at a collaborating Andrology clinic in Muenster, Germany. These genetic findings were confirmed on protein level using patients’ testis biopsies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Urology / 21.05.2015 Interview with: Ross Anderson M.D.,M.C.R. Allina Health clinics and Jim Hotaling M.D.,M.S.,F.E.C.S.M. Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine Salt Lake City, UT 84108 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Anderson: There is a growing trend of delayed marriage and childbearing, particularly into the third and fourth decade of life. Advanced maternal age is well recognized as a risk factor for chromosomal abnormalities and perinatal complications, but there is also growing interest in the impact of advanced paternal age. Multiple studies have demonstrated that as men age their sperm quality and ability to have children decreases. We were interested in how the age of the parents and the age of the grandparents at the time of conception can affect a man’s sperm quality. We hypothesized that men with older parents and grandparents at the time of conception would have a linear decrease in the quality of their sperm. We used Utah’s two largest andrology lab’s semen analyses and these men were linked to the Utah Population Database. The Utah Population Database allows us access to birth certificate data and pedigree data going back to the late 1800s. With this we can determine the age of the parents and grandparents at the time they had each subsequent generation. We found that the age of the parents did not influence a man’s semen concentration, motility, or total sperm count. Interestingly, the age of the paternal grandfather was associated with an increased risk of poor semen concentration. For instance, if a grandfather was older than 45 year of age at the time of conception of the father, there is a 39% chance a man’s semen concentration would be considered low according to the World Health Organization (less than 15 million per milliliter). (more…)
Author Interviews, NEJM, OBGYNE / 27.03.2014

Dr. Hong-Mei Xiao  M.D.,Ph.D. Cognition Section Professor of Gynecology,Reproductive Medicine                              The Institute of Reproduction and Stem Cell Engineering Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University Vice director, Reproduction and Genetics Hospital of CITIC-Xiangya China, Changsha, Tel: 86-731-84373557(O) Interview with: Dr. Hong-Mei Xiao  M.D.,Ph.D. Cognition Section Professor of Gynecology,Reproductive Medicine The Institute of Reproduction and Stem Cell Engineering Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University Vice director, Reproduction and Genetics Hospital of CITIC-Xiangya China, Changsha What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Xiao:  The study presents the first cases of human primary infertility due to mutation in a zona pellucida gene. We have identified a homozygous frameshift mutation in ZP1 ( GenBank accession number, KJ489454) resulting in the aberrant ZP1, which affects the formation of zona pellucida. We detected an autosomal-recessive pattern of inherited infertility. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, OBGYNE / 12.03.2014 Interview with: Dr Josefin Vikström Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine Faculty of Health Sciences Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Vikström: Our study showed that women with a female infertility factor were more than two times more likely to have been born with a low birth weight (less than 2500g) or small for gestational age compared to women where the cause of infertility was unknown and/or male. (more…)