Research at the Reproductive Medicine group

Over the last 20 years, the number of assisted reproduction procedures has drastically increased, and this trend is expected to continue as parenthood is postponed. In Europe, more than half a million in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles are performed annually, resulting in 100,000 newborns. With the increased use of assisted reproduction techniques (ART), a concomitant increase in IVF success rates would also be expected. However, the pregnancy rate per treatment cycle has remained constant over the same 10-year range, despite important progress in the field.

The rate of chromosomal abnormalities in oocytes increases with age. As the majority of women using ART are over 35 years old, an increase in the number of aneuploid embryos can be translated into higher miscarriage rates, lower live-birth rates, and a higher number of offspring with genetic abnormalities. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying oocyte maturation and embryo pre-implantation development can contribute to the improvement of current ART procedures, and promote the development of new protocols that would increase success rates of IVF.

Our group aims to explore the mechanisms of reproductive ageing and devise strategies to improve infertility treatments. We address the following fundamental questions:

  • How molecular and cellular defects induce chromosomal errors in aged oocytes?
  • How epigenetic marks are established during oocyte and embryo development and how epigenetic alterations can affect developmental potential?
  • How oocyte maturation takes place during the different stages of follicular growth?
  • How leiomyomas can affect endometrial receptivity?

More information about the current projects can be found under the PROJECTS section in the menu.