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  • Fertility ResearchFertility Research

The Role of Research in Cutting-Edge Fertility Treatment

Choosing a fertility and reproductive health provider who is involved in innovative research can help ensure that you get the best possible treatment. Gaya Murugappan, MD, a fellow with Stanford Medicine’s Fertility and Reproductive Health Services, explains the benefits of research below.

What’s the benefit of choosing a fertility provider who conducts research?

The field of reproductive endocrinology is incredibly dynamic. Advances that increase the odds of successful pregnancy and improve patient care happen every day. Our dedication to research is the key to improving the quality of care that we provide our patients. Research drives us to constantly ask ourselves: What is the best way to solve a given problem? What is the best treatment for this patient? The ability to provide cutting-edge care customized for each patient stems from a knowledge of the latest advances and a willingness to challenge ourselves and ask why we are choosing a certain treatment, what other options are available, and what can I, as a physician and a research investigator, do to optimize this patient’s treatment and outcome?

Why should I choose to participate in fertility and reproductive health research?

Even patients who don’t qualify to participate in any of our research studies benefit from our research-minded focus on providing the best care for each patient. For patients who are eligible to participate in a study, some studies may have a potential benefit for participants, such as helping them learn new things about their health or providing free tests. Studies also gather information that can help patients in the future. We are very grateful to all of our patients who participate in research, and acknowledge their immense contribution to scientific advancement.

What are some recent breakthroughs that have come out of research at Stanford?

Many of our providers are actively engaged in research to help provide the best possible care to our patients. For example, Lusy Aghajanova, MD, is a leader in the field of endometrial health and is conducting a study looking at treatments for thin uterine lining. And Ruth Lathi, MD, and I are examining the role of the microbiome in recurrent pregnancy loss and trying to improve the care of patients with unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss.

Our In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Lab is also involved in innovative research. Lab director Barry Behr, PhD, HCLD, spearheaded research that uncovered new ways to keep embryos alive in the lab longer, which allowed doctors to better determine which embryos had the best chance of survival and made it possible to screen for genetic diseases. He and his team continue to research new ways to improve IVF and better measure the viability of sperm and eggs to make it easier for people to have children.


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