Take fertility research further
with the Birth grant.
Fresh thinking in fertility
Birth is offering funding for projects that aim to improve the treatment
of people undergoing assisted reproduction techniques (ART).
We’re dedicated to doing
Birth is a project by Theramex. We’re a global speciality pharmaceutical company solely committed to women’s health, with a medicine portfolio covering contraception, fertility, menopause and osteoporosis.
We’re committed to furthering knowledge and treatments in fertility-related conditions. We’re always looking for new approaches and new angles.
Part of this commitment involves funding research in reproductive medicine. Doing this leads to improved understanding, more treatment options and ultimately, better outcomes for everyone.
Since the start of the initiative we have received more than 70 applications from 16 countries across Europe.
The academic standard of applications is always very high and successful projects have been chosen on their merit, innovation and feasibility, and are aligned to our overall goal of improving fertility treatments. Below is the list of projects which have been awarded the BIRTH grant
1) AI-MAR (artificial intelligence in medically assisted reproduction)
Principle investigator: Professor Nathalie Massin.
Intercommunal Hospital University Paris-Est Creteil, Creteil, France
This project primarily aims to improve standard-of-care in medically assisted reproduction (MAR). The individual objectives include: developing a predictive model of live birth that will inform couples with fertility problems about their chances of success and duration of treatment; creating an algorithm to personalise and optimise the choice of MAR techniques. The predictive model and algorithm will integrate the time to live-birth and cost-effectiveness, as well as the risk of drop out. Cost-effectiveness outcomes could inform national recommendations in fertility care.
3) Study of the embryo-exported extracellular vesicles as ‘natural cell biopsy’
Principle investigator: Doctor Paola Viganò.
San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
This project firstly aims to characterise the transcriptomic cargo of embryo-exported extracellular vesicles (EVs) in relation to embryo ploidy status. Secondly, the project will study the effect of embryo-derived EV uptake by endometrial cells on endometrial receptivity, again in relation to embryo ploidy status. Finally, this project aims to gain mechanistic insight into the embryo-endometrial dialog facilitated by embryo-derived EVs. Potentially harmful invasive embryo biopsies for Preimplantation Genetic Testing may be negated by instead utilising EVs – a ‘natural cell biopsy’.
5) The rate of embryo euploidy in women treated with progestin-primed ovarian stimulation vs conventional ovarian stimulation: a randomized controlled trial
Principle investigator: Professor Ermanno Greco.
Centre for Reproductive Medicine, European Hospital, Rome, Italy
This trial aims to assess the rate of blastocycst euploidy and the number of euploid blastocycsts in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection treated with progestin-primed ovarian stimulation vs conventional ovarian stimulation (based on the use of GnRH antagonists). Secondary outcomes include: measures of premature LH surge, FSH consumption and stimulation, and progesterone elevation; rate of poor response and hyperresponse; number of retrieved and mature oocytes; number and morphological quality of available blastocysts.
2) Exploring the role of DNA damage in oocyte meiotic arrest and its impact on genome integrity
Principle investigator: Doctor Giovanni Coticchio.
9.baby – Family and Fertility Centre, Bologna, Italy
This project will focus on the importance of DNA damage for oocyte meiosis and genome integrity, testing four hypotheses: 1) fully grown human oocytes are susceptible to DNA damage and are consequently prone to meiotic arrest; 2) systems that co-operate to assure the fidelity of chromosome segregation (namely the spindle assembly checkpoint) also prevent the production of mature human oocytes that could lead to abnormal embryos; 3) factors causing DNA damage in human oocytes can be counteracted by in vitro treatments; 4) endometriosis has relevance for human oocyte DNA damage and downstream implications.
4) Improving safety of Assisted Reproductive Techniques – the possible role of embryo transfer on a natural cycle to prevent preeclampsia
Principle investigator: Professor Edgardo Somigliana.
University of Milan and Fondazione Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy
This study will evaluate the possible role of the corpus luteum in modulating the risk of preeclampsia, and explore the possible effects of the presence of a corpus luteum on the foetal cardiovascular system. Secondary analyses could indirectly reveal whether the detrimental effects are on placentation, maternal adaptation to pregnancy, or foetal cardiovascular modifications.
1) AIRPORT – A feasibility study of the impact of the level of exposure to ambient Air Pollutants on Outcomes of assisted Reproductive Technologies
Principle investigator: Doctor Meenakshi Choudhary.
Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust and Newcastle University Biomedicine West Wing, Newcastle, United Kingdom
Understanding the impact of air pollutants on both fertility and the success of IVF treatment is an important area lacking in research.
Exposure to environmental air pollutants may be modifiable. We propose to study the impact of air pollutants on IVF outcomes by assessing regional air quality data as well as individual exposure to air pollutants. Our pilot study is designed to explore the variability in participants’ personal exposure to air pollutants using a portable air quality monitoring device, and to establish if it has any association with the reproductive outcomes for couples undergoing IVF treatments.
This study will determine the feasibility of conducting a large scale study. A large scale study would enable the relationship between air pollutant exposure and IVF outcomes to be more clearly understood.
3) Functional validation of two novel devices for male fertility assessment
Principle investigator: Doctor Marcos Meseguer.
IVI RMA Valencia, Spain
The aim of this project is to perform a functional validation of two novel devices for studying male fertility against established techniques. These novel techniques may have the ability to separate and quantify the four most important sperm parameters (Progressive Motile Sperm Cells (PMSC) count, morphology, acrosome status and DNA fragmentation) without the drawbacks of bulky, expensive equipment, lengthy wait times and lack of skilled technicians.
The aim is to fill the gap between lab-based methods and home-based kits, allowing cost-effective and rapid separation of the best sperm cells as well as quick, easy and accurate multiparametric evaluation of sperm samples. Hence, it represents a unique solution for male infertility diagnosis.
2) Sperm selection by thermotaxis: a novel technique to enhance assisted reproductive technologies’ outcomes
Principle investigator: Doctor Kadir Güney Güleresi.
IVI RMA Lisbon, Portugal
This project aims to enhance ART outcomes by increasing the use of functionally competent sperm for ICSI. Our objectives are to increase morphologically normal spermatozoa count and reduce sperm DNA fragmentation. As a result, we expect to enhance fertilization rates as well as embryo development and, ultimately, cumulative live birth rates.
4) ENIGME project: evaluation non-invasive génétique du milieu embryonnaire
(non-invasive genetic evaluation of the embryonic milieu)
Principle investigator: Doctor Daniela Nogueira.
Clinique Croix du Sud, Toulouse, France
The validity of non-invasive technologies in a clinical context is still limited and there is an immediate need in an IVF setting to develop these methodologies into reproducible tests. This project intends to evaluate the contribution of non-invasive genetic testing on clinical outcomes when used as an adjunct for routine embryonicmorphokinetic classification.
Moreover, this project aims to correlate embryo morphokinetic dynamics with the genetic material released into spent culture media. This approach could reduce time to pregnancy, by optimising the choice of an embryo for transfer with the best chances for implantation and less chance to undergo early pregnancy loss.
We’ve seen the journey through their eyes.
And the eyes of a healthcare provider.
Now it’s time for a fresh pair of eyes.
We’re looking for thinking that can change lives
Applications are open from 1st February until 30th September 2021.
If you’re a researcher or clinician in Europe and are working in a reproductive medicine academic unit, or in an ART clinic or research centre, you can apply for a Birth grant or support for an Investigator Sponsored Study (ISS) in two steps:
Send the completed form to email@example.com, including the CV of the lead investigator and the details of your organisation, plus any other supporting material.
Improving the treatment of people undergoing assisted reproduction techniques (ART).
The chosen proposals may receive up to €50,000 a year, for a maximum of 3 years.
If your proposal is selected to receive a Birth grant or support for a study proposal, an appropriate contract will be set up detailing the terms and conditions of the funding.
Each Research Unit/ART clinic can only submit one Birth Grant per year.
You’re eligible for a Birth grant if:
You’re a researcher or clinician
You’re based in Europe
You work in a reproductive medicine academic unit, ART clinic or human reproduction research centre
Unfortunately, the following aren’t eligible:
Patient organisations or charities
Projects aiming solely to purchase materials or equipment
Funding for ongoing studies or research
Funding is dependent upon various factors including (but not limited to):
Merit of the proposal
Duration of the proposed study
Availability of funds
Requests for a Birth grant and ISS support will be reviewed and evaluated by an internal scientific/medical committee based on pre-defined criteria, the most important of which are listed above.
Please note that only applications requesting a grant of up to €50,000 a year for a maximum of 3 years will be evaluated.
Only 1 proposal per unit/ART clinic/research centre will be evaluated.
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