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CHR Isn’t Just One of the World’s Leading Infertility Clinics – We’re a Research Center, Too

CHR may be best-known for their clinical fertility practice, but research conducted at our center has had an enormous impact on the infertility field.

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I also want to talk to you about what many of you already may know and that is that fertility treatments at CHR are quite different from most, if not all other, fertility centers. And by different, I really don’t mean the term “different,” I think it is more appropriate to say that in many ways fertility treatments at CHR in many ways, a step ahead of many of our colleagues.

CHR exists for a number of decades. It started in Chicago, when I was a chairman of a university department there and CHR was the original faculty practice. Over all of those years, we have always tried to be on the forefront of infertility treatments. You may not know that, but some of the very important changes that have been happening to infertility treatment over the last thirty years, have actually generated at CHR. Just one example, CHR was the first fertility center that performed vaginal egg retrieval. Yes. Before CHR published a paper in The Lancet, in the 1980s, reporting on the possibility to retrieve egg strands vaginally. We used to do egg retrievals in the operating room. Patients had to undergo general anesthesia in most days.

Today obviously, vaginal egg retrieval is how everybody does it. CHR was also the first to do tubal catheterization to re-canalize fallopian tubes. Today that too has become a routine practice in reproductive medicine. Unfortunately, mostly performed by our radiology colleagues but it all started at CHR. We were the first ones to report the first few papers on that. Indeed, when we first reported our success with tubal catheterizations, some of our colleagues made made almost jokes about it because they didn’t believe that it was technically possible. And then there are other things you may have read recently a lot about uterine transplantations. That is a vogue subject. A lot of centers have started trying to learn the technique originally developed in Sweden.

But what you may not know is that the first uterine transplantation experiments reported were actually from CHR investigators using rabbits and our Swedish colleagues who were the first ones to successfully transplant human uteri always give us credit for that in their papers. And then there’s of course had the use of male hormones, of androgens, in women with certain infertility conditions. DHEA was really brought into the field of clinical reproductive medicine by CHR and today, a large majority our fertility centers are using androgens in their routine of fertility treatments. I will be talking about some of the more recent, groundbreaking discoveries at CHR in a moment. But what is important here for all of you to remember is that such is not only one of the leading clinical fertility centers, but we are also one of the leading research fertility centers.