Solving the infertility puzzle

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Many couples grapple with the frustrations of infertility. You’re left to wonder – shouldn’t modern medicine be able to provide clearer answers for the question, “Why can’t I get pregnant?” One of our partners is hoping to do just that.

If you or a loved one have struggled with infertility, you know how physically and emotionally difficult it can be. Our partners at Recombine have launched a study called FertilityMap that may help begin to solve the infertility puzzle.

What is FertilityMap?

Today, there are a number of tools and tests used by doctors to try and diagnose the causes of, and then treat, an individual’s infertility. If you’ve visited a fertility clinic, you may be personally familiar with many of these approaches. While a number of potential links between a person’s genetics and their infertility symptoms have been identified, this information is not currently used in the diagnosis and treatment process. If you’re wondering why, it’s because the data just isn’t concrete enough yet. Emphasis on the word “yet.”

Recombine is working to further define the links between genetics and infertility by gathering genetic information, family histories, and fertility-relevant medical data from over 10,000 men and women. Their FertilityMap study will then take this data and compare it with 1000s of genetic variants that have been hypothesized to influence infertility.

The goal is to eventually use this information to help guide physicians and fertility specialists in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of infertility. For instance, at present some 20% of all in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles are cancelled due to problems with the patient’s response to hormone treatments. One of the variants that FertilityMap looks at has been hypothesized to impact this response, meaning one day fertility doctors could know in advance based on a person’s genes how to best approach a patient’s hormone treatment. That one potential application alone could make IVF safer, less expensive, and more successful (meaning more healthy pregnancies!) for many, many patients.

Who is Recombine and why are they doing this?

We know that universities and nonprofits are typically involved in research, so why is Recombine taking this on? Well, Recombine’s first product was a carrier screening test called CarrierMap, which tells parents their chance of having a child with an inherited genetic disease. All families using CarrierMap are given access to one of Recombine’s certified genetic counselors who helps them understand how to use this information to make smart health decisions.

Since its founding, Recombine has partnered with fertility clinics to offer CarrierMap, meaning most patients who Recombine’s genetic counselors spoke with were struggling with infertility. When those patients were found to be a carrier of a genetic disease, they would often ask their genetic counselor, “Is this the reason why we can’t get pregnant?” Very rarely would the results of genetic carrier screening have an impact on fertility, yet this question kept coming up.

That’s why Recombine launched FertilityMap.

We applaud Recombine, and their partner fertility centers, for their dedication to bringing couples answers surrounding their infertility. This large scale, long term, IRB approved study leverages contributions from experts in the fields of genetics, fertility, bioinformatics, and computer science to bring patients answers about their infertility. FertilityMap is a huge undertaking and we’re glad we get to share it with you.

Thanks to Recombine, the future of fertility treatments is a bright one.

Tap the button below to learn more about FertilityMap from our partners at Recombine.

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