Infertility Clinic

Penn has established a new National Center for Research on Female Infertility under a a $5.6 million grant from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) for research on the causes of infertility and the development of new treatments.

It has been estimated that infertility affects between 35 and 70 million couples around the world, and that some 4.9 million women in the U.S., ages 15-44, have an impaired ability to have children.

The focus of the new center will be the clarification of the genetic basis of a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a disorder in which multiple cysts develop on the ovaries and ovulation rarely occurs. PCOS is one of the leading causes of female infertility and metabolic disease, affecting an estimated ten percent of women of reproductive age.

"Our multi-faceted research program will use state-of-the-art techniques in molecular genetics, molecular and cell biology and rigorous clinical investigation to better understand and treat PCOS," said Dr. Jerome F. Strauss, the Luigi Mastroianni Jr. Professor and Associate Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Some characteristics of PCOS include the presence of irregular menstrual periods, increased facial and body hair and an inability to become pregnant. "We also believe that women who suffer from PCOS have a higher risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life," he said.

The Center will serve as a national resource for the career development of young scientists electing to pursue research in high priority areas of infertility research. "The generous grant will expand our research effort in reproductive biology, reproductive genetics, and clinical research and treatment development," added Dr. Strauss, who also serves as Director of Penn's Center for Research on Reproductions and Women's Health, an international resource for infertility, contraceptive development, education, and specialized patient care.

Dr. Strauss and his co-investigators--Dr. Deborah Driscoll Dr. Richard Spielman--will collaborate with researchers from the Penn State's University Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (Dr. Andrea Dunaif and Dr. Jan McAllister) and U.C. San Francisco (Dr. Walter L. Miller), to launch the interactive research program at Penn.


Volume 43 Number 29
April 8, 1997

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