ASRM 2014

Dr. William Kutteh and Dr. James Klosky (from St. Jude) at the ASRM meeting in Honolulu, reviewing data from the SBANK10 study.

The doctors at Fertility Associates of Memphis shared their latest research at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) this week, breaking new ground at the world’s premier reproductive medicine conference. Although it is a private practice, Fertility Associates of Memphis enjoys a long tradition of research and teaching.

At the 2014 ASRM meeting, Fertility Associates of Memphis embryologist Dr. Jianchi Ding presented findings on advanced embryology techniques, which was ranked among the top 20% of all submitted ASRM reports. The results of this report, coauthored by Drs. William Kutteh, Raymond Ke, and Paul Brezina, have important implications for assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Currently, ART laboratories may discard eggs that lack an outer layer. The groundbreaking research outlines a new way of saving eggs without this layer to result in healthy embryos. These findings also are important for further understanding the processes associated with early human embryo development and may improve pregnancy rates in couples trying to conceive through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Other exciting research, coauthored by St. Jude Children’s Hospital physicians along with Drs. Kutteh and Brezina, focuses on adolescent sperm banking. This was the first large nationally representative study to describe sperm banking practices among at-risk adolescents newly diagnosed with cancer. The study clearly shows that the treating oncologist’s recommendation and counseling with a reproductive endocrinologist increases the probability that adolescent males diagnosed with cancer will cryopreserve sperm for fertility preservation.

At the conference, Dr. Kutteh again led a session for other physicians on “Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.” Dr. Kutteh also became chair-elect of the national Early Pregnancy Special Interest Group.

In addition, Dr. Paul Brezina’s research was presented at the conference, focusing on better understanding the dynamic and complex process of early embryo development. His research described new genetic testing platforms that are being used successfully to more accurately genetically analyze embryos through preimplantation genetic testing. This research was performed in conjunction with Dr. William Kearns at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where Dr. Brezina completed his fellowship training. Dr Brezina also coauthored research that outlines optimal training protocols for teaching physicians while in training. These recommendations resulted from a collaboration with physicians from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine was founded by a small group of fertility experts who first met in 1944. ASRM members have led the development of the field of reproductive medicine and they were the first physicians to perform many of the standard procedures used by fertility specialists today. Today, ASRM members reside in all 50 of the United States and in more than 100 other countries.

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