Primary Recipient Awards
Nearly one in 10 couples has difficulty in either conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy to term. The known causes are heterogeneous and it is often difficult to diagnose a specific cause of infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss in any particular case. This produces an enormous emotional burden for the couple, as well as a financial burden to the health care system. More and more couples are resorting to expensive assisted reproduction technologies without a full understanding of the cause of their infertility and their chance of success. Furthermore, chromosome abnormalities are reportedly increased in pregnancies resulting from in vitro fertilization techniques using intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a technique developed particularly to overcome male-factor infertility. It is important to determine the source of these abnormalities, as the use of these techniques is rapidly increasing. The high rate of chromosome abnormalities in humans is a major contributor to low fertility and it is estimated that up to 25% of all human conceptions are chromosomally abnormal. Some individuals may be at increased risk of infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss because of either a genetic or an environmental factor (including maternal age) causing a predisposition to chromosome errors. Identifying such individuals would be important in assessing the reproductive options (and the associated risks) available to them. Furthermore any predisposition to chromosome segregation errors may also be important in risk for cancer, as such errors are typically a precursor step in tumorigenesis. Genetic factors may also be important in explaining recurrent pregnancy loss which is not associated with aneuploidy. Our goal is to bring together researchers from different fields with a common interest in the role of genetic and environmental factors affecting human reproductive success including infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, and in vitro fertilization techniques. The goal will be to 1)exchange ideas through seminar presentation and informal social gathering 2)develop collaborative research projects involving the diverse range of expertise present at UBC.