A Leader in Clinical Research, Shady Grove Fertility Presented Key Findings at American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s 71st Annual Meeting

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Shady Grove Fertility—a national leader in fertility treatment and research—presented key findings at American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD, October 17 to 21, 2015

Our studies equip both physicians and patients to make more informed treatment decisions.

Physician scientists from Shady Grove Fertility—the largest fertility center in the country—presented four oral abstract presentations and 10 poster presentations at this year’s premier education and research meeting for reproductive medicine. Held from October 17 to 21, 2015, in Baltimore, MD, the theme of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM's) Annual Meeting was 'Steering Reproductive Medicine to the Forefront of Global Public Health.' The program featured scientific, postgraduate, and video presentations as well as plenary lectures addressing the most pressing clinical and basic-science issues in reproductive medicine. The meeting drew more than 8,600 attendees from 83 countries.

Shady Grove Fertility places high value on conducting clinical research and remains a leader in the field. It is one of the few fertility centers in the country to employ a full-time dedicated research staff who perform under Director of Research and Chief Statistician, Kevin S. Richter, Ph.D., and Co-director of Research, physician scientist, Kate Devine, M.D.

“We view research as intrinsic to our duty as healthcare providers, to do all we can to help our patients,” remarks Devine, who sees patients in Shady Grove Fertility’s Washington, D.C., K Street location. “The volume of patients we care for gives us tremendous insight into the best fertility practices. The quantity of data we can collect in a few months may take smaller centers years to gather. We view this as both a privilege and a responsibility—to make discoveries that benefit of all patients struggling with infertility, not just our own,” she adds.

Among the findings Shady Grove Fertility presented this year, the three most notable include: (1) a look at improved success derived from delaying embryo transfer in favor of subsequent frozen embryo transfer (FET) when progesterone levels were elevated, (2) a large analysis of how the number of moving sperm in the sample used for intrauterine insemination (IUI) affected chances of pregnancy, and (3) an analysis of pregnancy chances with in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles in which women used their own frozen eggs.

The first study analyzed 4,124 treatment cycles to evaluate whether the detrimental effect of high progesterone levels at the time of the “trigger” shot—the final phase of stimulation during IVF treatment—was ameliorated by freezing all the embryos. The study showed that when progesterone was elevated, subsequent FET was over 10 times more likely to result in pregnancy than transfer of fresh embryos immediately following ovarian stimulation. In addition, no difference was seen in chances of success with FET of embryos that resulted from IVF cycles with elevated progesterone versus those with normal progesterone levels. This study may result in improved patient outcomes by validating the practice of freezing good quality embryos in cycles where progesterone levels are elevated before the trigger shot. Taking a 1 to 2 month break after the egg retrieval to allow hormone levels to normalize, then undergoing FET to a more receptive uterus, may increase pregnancy rates by as much as 50 percent.

Shady Grove Fertility also presented research designed to improve predictions for IUI pregnancy rates based on post-wash total motile sperm count. The analysis of 47,500 IUI cycles showed that after sperm wash for IUI, if total motile sperm count was 9 million, the chances of a clinical pregnancy per IUI was approximately 17 percent. If the sample used for IUI contained 9 million, 10 million, or 20 million moving sperm, success rates did not increase further. However, for patients with fewer than 9 million moving sperm in the IUI sample, chances of pregnancy decreased with decreasing counts, to the point that when the sample contained fewer than 1 million moving sperm, there was a less than 5 percent chance of pregnancy. Based on this largest study of its kind, physicians can now counsel patients about their potential success rates with IUI and whether it is the right initial treatment option for them (versus IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI). Furthermore, these data suggest that when a baseline semen analysis shows a borderline sperm count, patients may benefit from a diagnostic sperm wash to obtain a more accurate prediction of the total motile sperm count that would be available for IUI treatment, and thereby obtain a refined understanding of their chances of success.

Lastly, Shady Grove Fertility presented the largest published data set on IVF outcomes among women who froze their own eggs and then used them in the hopes of achieving pregnancy. The study showed that fresh and frozen eggs (when vitrification technology was used) yielded similar chances of success. Specifically, the rates of fertilization, implantation, pregnancy, and birth were all as high among women who used vitrified eggs as in women who used fresh eggs. These data suggest that egg freezing, regardless of the reason, is a viable way for women to preserve their fertility. In addition, physicians can use this information to reassure couples who need to freeze eggs unexpectedly and those who freeze eggs intentionally to limit the number of embryos created. These couples can rest assured that their chance of success will not be impaired by using frozen eggs.

“We do research to stay at the forefront—to practice best-in-class reproductive medicine,” said Richter. “Our studies equip both physicians and patients to make more informed treatment decisions.”

About Shady Grove Fertility
Shady Grove Fertility is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence offering patients individualized care, innovative financial options, and pregnancy rates among the highest of all national centers. Since 1991, more than 37,000 babies have been born to patients from all 50 states and over 35 countries around the world. Shady Grove Fertility physicians actively train residents and reproductive endocrine fellows and invest in continuous clinical research and education to advance the field of reproductive medicine through numerous academic appointments and partnerships with Georgetown Medical School, Walter Reed, and the National Institutes of Health. Today, 34 reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, Ph.D. scientists, geneticists, and more than 600 highly specialized Shady Grove Fertility staff care for patients in 18 full-service offices, and six satellite sites throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, call 1-888-761-1967 or visit ShadyGroveFertility.com.

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