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Infertility Research

One of the many advantages of Baystate Reproductive Medicine is that we are actively involved in cutting edge research.  We stay abreast of the latest developments in reproductive medicine and are devoted to explaining the many causes of infertility with original research.  All of our board certified physicians are extensively published in peer-reviewed research journals.  Below is a synopsis of some of the current research projects underway.

  1. Understanding the impaired developmental competence of ovarian stimulated in vitro matured oocytes. This is the study funded by CBR (Collaborative Biomedical Research - research grants that are funded by a partnership between Baystate and UMass Amherst).  The purpose of this research study is to understand why eggs matured in the laboratory have less of a chance of developing into babies than those eggs that are matured inside the ovary. This project is being done to understand how to create the best growth conditions for eggs matured in the lab. Eggs will be examined at various stages of maturation to look for markers of normal development.
  2. Male Factor In Infertile Couples: A Molecular Approach. this is the study funded by Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer foundation.  A sperm problem is responsible for about half of all cases of human infertility. Problems can occur because of low numbers of sperm, or because of poor sperm function. There are two important processes which must occur before a sperm can fertilize an egg. The first is protein phosphorylation by specific kinases, which changes sperm proteins and is required for the sperm to enter an egg. The second important process is egg activation. If an egg does not become activated after the sperm enters, fertilization of the egg will not be completed. This study compares some characteristics of sperm function in patients with good fertilization to those with poor fertilization.
  3. Assisted Egg Activation (AEA) after Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This is not funded.  The most important task a sperm has is to activate the egg. If an egg does not become activated after the sperm enters, fertilization of the egg will not be completed. Calcium concentrations within an egg must change before an egg can be ‘activated’. If a patient’s sperm cannot activate the egg then there is a treatment called Assisted Egg Activation (AEA) that may allow for egg activation to occur with addition of a calcium stimulating agent after ICSI.
  4. Role of Testis Specific Kinase TSSK1 in Human Sperm Function. This is the study that is also funded by CBR.  Our group is interested in the study of signaling events involved in sperm differentiation and function. We are interested in Tssk1 function in sperm from infertile males.