Scientists at a research network funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) are seeking infertile couples for a study to investigate whether taking a sample of endometrial tissue is useful for diagnosing and treating infertility.
"There is a strong need for effective infertility treatments, and this need may result in the use of therapies that haven't been tested in clinical trials," said NICHD Director Duane Alexander, MD. "The purpose of this study--and the NICHD network, in general--is to provide the rigorous evaluation that patients and their physicians need to make informed decisions."
Endometrial biopsy--removing a small tissue sample from the lining of the uterus-- is often conducted as a part of infertility testing, explained Donna Vogel, M.D., Ph.D., of NICHD's Reproductive Sciences Branch. However, little scientific information exists as to whether the practice actually leads to a better choice of treatment. Both fertile and infertile women may be eligible for the study if they are between 25 and 39 years old and have regular menstrual cycles of between 24 and 34 days.
NICHD's National Cooperative Reproductive Medicine Network is designed to carry out large, multicenter clinical trials in the areas of male and female infertility and reproductive diseases and disorders, Dr. Vogel added.
"By studying large numbers of patients enrolled in common protocols, answers will be provided more rapidly than by individual centers acting alone," she said.
The first study conducted by the NICHD network found that, for certain kinds of infertility, the combination of hormonally inducing ovulation, followed by inseminating with the partner's sperm directly into the uterus, resulted in more pregnancies than did several other techniques. The study appeared in the January 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. A news release describing the study is available on the NICHD website at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsreleases/, "NICHD Network Identifies Most Effective of a Series of Infertility Treatments."
Those wishing to volunteer for the endometrial biopsy study may contact the following centers:
University of Pennsylvania
Peg Crowner, RN
The University of Rochester
Rochester, New York
Germaine Santoriello, RN
Baylor College of Medicine
Adele Dana, RN
Beverly Feldman, RN
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Kathleen Walsh, RN
Heather Nicholls, RN
University of Alabama
Velria Willis, RN
University of Louisville
Pat Swanson, RN
Maureen Lockard, RN
The NICHD is one of the Institutes comprising the National Institutes of Health, the Federal government's premier biomedical research agency. NICHD supports and conducts research on the reproductive, neurobiological, developmental, and behavioral processes that determine and maintain the health of children, adults, families, and populations. The NICHD website, http://www.nichd.nih.gov, contains additional information about the Institute and its mission.