The next generation of IVF researchers

IVF researchers Dr Wan Tin Teh (left) and Dr Genia Rozen
1 November 2023 |

Two of the Women’s leading IVF researchers, Dr Genia Rozen and Dr Wan Tinn Teh, are leading cutting-edge research to improve outcomes for people whose path to parenthood is not easy.

Dr Rozen led a study to find out whether the amount of progesterone in a woman’s blood on the day of embryo transfer is linked to successful pregnancy outcomes.

The study analysed data from women who underwent IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection and had a single embryo transfer on the fifth day after fertilisation.

It found that measuring progesterone levels on the day of embryo transfer did not help in predicting pregnancy outcomes. There was no specific level of progesterone that resulted in a lower chance of pregnancy, and the chance of having a live birth after a blastocyst transfer (which involves extending the culture period of IVF embryos for five days in the laboratory) was similar across all progesterone level groups.

“The endometrium plays a vital role in pregnancy success, and understanding its receptivity is key to improving assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation,” Dr Rozen said.

“Exciting advancements in this area include the discovery of new biomarkers and genetic factors that influence endometrial receptivity, as well as the development of personalised protocols based on patient-specific characteristics,” she said.

“These ground-breaking studies hold the potential to revolutionise assisted reproductive technologies and offer new hope to couples struggling with infertility.”

Meanwhile, Dr Wan Tinn Teh is leading a study into frozen embryo transfer (FET), a technique used in IVF to help couples conceive.

There are two types of FET protocols: natural and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

The HRT protocol is used when the natural protocol is not an option. Studies show that pregnancies resulting from the HRT protocol are more likely to have complications such as hypertension in female patients.

To investigate this issue, Dr Teh and her team are conducting two studies. The first study is looking at the genes expressed in the endometrium of women who underwent FET with HRT, compared with those who underwent FET with natural protocols.

The second study compares the health outcomes of babies born from HRT FET with those born from natural FET. Although the studies are ongoing, the awareness raised by them has already led to a reduction in the use of the HRT protocol.

“IVF has changed the world. It was made possible by research. Further research is required to make IVF a safer treatment,” Dr Teh said.

Dr Rozen’s research was published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online.