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New databank to develop treatments for human infertility.


Infertility is a growing problem in our society. The number of embryo transfers performed in Europe (the last human-controlled step of the in-vitro fertilisation technique) increased by 8% between 1999 and 2003. Recent studies confirm this rising trend.

Despite the advances in IVF and other assisted reproduction technologies (ART), only 25% of embryo transfer attempts will lead to a successful pregnancy. In the remaining 75% of cases, the embryo fails to implant into the mother’s uterus. In many cases this may be due to the embryo being ‘rejected’ by the mother’s immune system. The way in which “rejection” is avoided when an embryo implants successfully and what goes wrong when it fails to implant are poorly understood. “The answers to these questions are crucial for the treatment of infertility” says Professor Ian Sargent, of the University of Oxford and EMBIC member (

To try to resolve this problem, EMBIC has launched a database on human infertility. Our member laboratories will analyze the results of both our basic research and clinical data.

“By combining these observations (basic and clinical), we will be able to develop better treatment protocols in the future” declared Dr. Nathalie Lédée of the Université de Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines and the person responsible of the EMBIC Database on Human Infertility. The studies that are being carried out require access to large numbers of clinical samples that could never be collected in one IVF Unit or hospital working in isolation. Only by a joint international effort will we be able to produce the results that we need.

The EMBIC database will be located in France and will bring together, anonymously and coded, the clinical information of fertile and infertile volunteers from 8 IVF centres from 7 European countries. The EMBIC scientists will complete this information by entering into the database the results of the tests carried out on these samples, using the latest technologies for molecular and cell biology.

“The strength of EMBIC is that by working together, large numbers of samples can be collected in a short space of time. It also allows direct comparisons between different treatments carried out in different countries across Europe” says Professor Sargent. The EMBIC scientists are convinced that this shared effort “will provide new insights into the causes of infertility and will lead to novel, targeted treatments for this very distressing condition”.

Juarez Perez Victor | alfa
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