The Reproductive Medicine Network (RMN), begun in 1990, carries out large, multicenter clinical trials of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for male and female infertility and reproductive diseases and disorders. The Network is funded through the NICHD's Fertility and Infertility (FI) Branch (formerly the Reproductive Sciences (RS) Branch) and comprises seven research sites and a data coordinating center.
The RMN's structure allows investigators to test hypotheses in large numbers of patients who are enrolled in common protocols at multiple centers. This method produces answers more rapidly than would be possible by individual sites working alone.
The RMN is led by a Steering Committee, composed of sites' Principal Investigators, the NICHD research coordinator, and an independent chair. This Committee makes decisions on research topics, protocol design and execution, and publications. In addition, two independent groups convened by the NICHD interact with the Network; they include: a Clinical Trials Advisory Board, which advises the Steering Committee on identifying and prioritizing research topics; and a Data Safety and Monitoring Committee, which is responsible for reviewing the safety of ongoing clinical trials and provides advice on trial conduct.
The Network allows external investigators with secured funding to gain access to RMN data and samples on a case-by-case basis, through a process that includes scientific review of the proposed research's relevance to the RMN mission and its scientific significance.
The RMN currently has several ongoing clinical studies, including:
- A clinical trial to assess the efficacy of several medications designed to help women with polycystic ovary syndrome conceive and deliver a healthy baby;
- A study to determine a level of oxygen in culture media that improves live birth rates in couples undergoing in vitro fertilization;
- A clinical trial to identify a medication that stimulates the ovaries of women who have unexplained infertility to ovulate, and that enables the women to have successful pregnancies while keeping the rate of multiple pregnancies low; and
- A study of the pregnancy and developmental outcomes of babies born in RMN clinical trials.
The Network's clinical sites include the following:
- Georgia Health Sciences University/Wayne State University
- Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center
- University of California, San Francisco
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Oklahoma
- University of Pennsylvania
The RMN also has a Data Coordinating Center (DCC) at the Yale University Collaborative Center for Statistics in Science.