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Fertility Research & Innovation

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

The Center for Research on Women's Health and Reproductive Medicine is currently conducting the following clinical research studies in reproductive medicine:


Lab director, Barry Behr, PhD, HCLD, is a leading expert in the field of in vitro fertilization. He was a lead researcher in figuring out how to keep embryos alive in the lab longer, which allowed doctors to better determine which embryos had the best chance of survival. This helped reduce the risk of pregnancies with more than one baby at a time. He later developed a new process of looking at the embryos, which further helped determine embryo viability. These improvements also made it possible to screen for genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs.

He and his team continue to work to develop new technologies to make in vitro fertilization better and to find better ways to measure the viability of sperm and eggs to make it easier for people with fertility problems to have children.

Fertility and pregnancy loss research

Miscarriage is the most common complication of early pregnancy, occurring in 10-40% of all pregnancies. Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is a disease distinct from infertility, defined as the spontaneous loss of two or more pregnancies and affects as many as 5% of couples attempting to build their families.  There are many known causes of miscarriage including genetic, uterine, and circulatory disorders, however the majority of patients with RPL remain without definite answers as to the cause of their pregnancy losses.

Ruth Lathi, MD, is the Director of Research for Fertility and Reproductive Health and founder of the Stanford multispecialty Recurrent Pregnancy Loss program. Dr. Lathi first became interested in research while working with Dr. Eric Lander at MIT, investigating genetic causes of hypertension. This experience taught her the power of collaborative work and innovative genetic techniques in discovering mechanisms of disease.