The Program on Oocyte Health is a multi-centre consortium of researchers who have come together to find ways to improve the health of the human oocytes or eggs produced during infertility treatments. Although the treatment of infertility by Assisted Reproduction Technologies such as in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer have been increasingly successful, we are still faced with a serious problem: only about 1 in 10 eggs retrieved from women undergoing infertility treatments are healthy enough to produce a pregnancy and birth.
In order to tackle this problem, the Program on Oocyte Health was formed. This Program is funded by a $2.8M, 5-year grant as part of a Strategic Initiative of the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, entitled "Healthy Gametes and Great Embryos." This Strategic Initiative afforded a unique opportunity to gather together researchers working separately using diverse methodologies to jointly try to understand what makes an oocyte healthy and to improve oocyte health.
The Program on Oocyte Health involves fifteen Principal Investigators across Canada and their staff. It is composed of five interconnected projects, three of which are predominantly basic biomedical research, with one of the remaining two projects encompassing clinical research and the other population health research. This marks the first time that these three fundamentally different types of research are joined in one integrated research effort in this area.
The effort is being led by Dr. Jay Baltz, Program Director, and a Project Leader for each of the five projects (Drs. Hugh Clarke, Marc-André Sirard, Jacquetta Trasler, Barbara Vanderhyden, and Shi-Wu Wen). The Program is based at the Ottawa Health Research Institute and involves Principal Investigators from The Universities of Ottawa, Montreal, Alberta, and McGill and Laval Universities. Graduate (MSc and PhD) and postdoctoral training in this Program is available with Principal Investigators in the Program at each university.