Carolinas HealthCare System

Research Studies

Part of providing the most advanced diagnostic testing and treatments for patients includes conducting research that leads to new information and technology. We have conducted extensive research in a wide variety of reproductive health areas as outlined in our publications. Some of these areas include infertility, in vitro fertilization, PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and hormonal imbalances.

This research is made possible by our patient volunteers willing to participate in clinical studies. If you are interested in participating in a research project, please contact our research nurse coordinator Mollie Elliot, RN, at 704-355-7261 to find out more about current research studies.

Egg Vitrification Study

The doctors at CMC Women's Institute Center for Reproductive Medicine are planning a new study in summer 2010 to determine if eggs remain healthy after being preserved in a glass-like state called "vitrification." Recent studies have shown that outcomes of reserved eggs may be comparable to "fresh" eggs obtained for in vitro fertilization. If this approach proves successful, it could revolutionize the care we provide for some of our patients.

The study has not been finalized, but participants can expect to go though many of the steps required for in vitro fertilization (IVF). First, fertility drugs are prescribed to stimulate the ovaries to produce a group of eggs. When the ovaries are ready, the eggs are removed using ultrasound guidance during heavy sedation. Half of the eggs will be vitrified and then immediately warmed to body temperature. Next, all healthy mature eggs (vitrified and "fresh") will be injected with the father's sperm, a procedure called ICSI, intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Several days later, the two healthiest embryos from the vitrified eggs will be placed into the uterus.

At CMC, we already store excess eggs for some of our IVF patients. The new study will help determine if egg vitrification meets our expectations for excellence. If the study is successful, we hope to help young women with cancer by storing eggs before starting treatments that damage the ovaries. There are many other possible applications for storing eggs, including egg storage for women in their early 30s who aren't yet ready to start a family but wish to preserve fertility.

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