Fertility and Infertility Branch (FIB)


The mission of FIB is to encourage, enable, and support research aimed at alleviating human infertility, uncovering new possible pathways to control fertility, and expanding fundamental knowledge of processes that underlie human reproduction. To this end, FIB funds basic, clinical, and translational studies to enhance our understanding of normal reproduction and reproductive pathophysiology, as well as to enable the development of more effective strategies for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of conditions that compromise fertility.


Some recent findings from FIB-supported researchers include the following:

  • Hyperandrogenemia and obesity have detrimental effects on fertility and gestation in primates, which may be directly relevant to women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Dr. True and her colleagues showed that, in a non-human primate model, elevated testosterone in females increased the time to achieve pregnancy, while a western-style diet (WSD) reduced fertility. The combination of testosterone and a WSD additionally impaired glucose tolerance and caused pregnancy loss. (PMID: 29401269)
  • Small non-coding RNAs (sncRNA) in sperm can mediate intergenerational transmission of paternally acquired phenotypes. Dr. Chen and his colleagues showed that sncRNAs encode essential paternal information, which—after fertilization—could be responsible for phenotypes such as mental stress and metabolic disorders in the next generation. (PMID: 29695786 )
  • Major depression and antidepressant use affect male and female fertility. A study of major depression in couples with infertility showed that currently active major depression in infertile men can lower chances of pregnancy, and use of non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants in infertile women could be linked to first-trimester pregnancy loss. (PMCID: PMC5973807)
  • Pregnancy Intervals linked to babies' health. In a study of women who had had a previous successful pregnancy, Dr. Su and her colleagues found that an interval of less than 12 months or greater than 5 years until the next pregnancy was associated with the highest risk of adverse outcomes for the newborns. (PMID: 29778383)
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