Gene Variation May Explain Some Female Infertility
TUESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- A gene variation that causes
faulty cholesterol regulation also appears to affect production of
the pregnancy hormone progesterone and may be a reason why some
women can't get pregnant, researchers say.
The Johns Hopkins University team looked at more than 200
infertile women who were undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF)
and identified nine who had the variation of the scavenger receptor
class B type 1 (SCARB1) gene.
All nine women had low levels of progesterone, which plays a
critical role in sustaining pregnancy in its earliest stages. These
low levels of progesterone persisted even though the women were
supplemented with progesterone as part of the IVF process. None of
the women became pregnant after undergoing IVF.
This variation in the SCARB1 gene could be present in 8 percent
to 13 percent of the population, according to study leader Dr.
Annabelle Rodriguez, an associate professor of medicine at the
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
She and her colleagues also developed a simple blood test for
the gene variation but noted there is no approved treatment for
this type of infertility.
"Infertility is fairly common and a lot of the reasons for it are still unknown," Rodriguez said in a Hopkins news release. "Right now, the benefit of this research is in knowing that there might be a genetic reason for why some women have difficulty getting pregnant. In the future, we hope this knowledge can be translated into a cure for this type of infertility."
The study appears online in the journal
The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more
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