Centre for Human Reproductive Science

The Centre for Human Reproductive Science (ChRS) was established in December 2006 to further develop research and innovation in fertility diagnosis and treatment, working in partnership as the academic and research wing of the Assisted Conception Unit at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. A particular emphasis in the biomedical research strategy is placing research and discovery in the true physiological context cite web | title=Man-made versus female-made environment--will the real capacitation please stand up? | work= Barratt CL, Kirkman-Brown J. Hum Reprod Update. 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):1-2.PMID: 16354709| url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16354709|] .

Research Advances

The ChRS team alongside the ACU have made recent notable advances in various areas, these include achievements in :
Translational medicine, such as the invention of the male Fertell over-the-counter home fertility test cite web | title=Development of a novel home sperm test | work=Björndahl L, Kirkman-Brown J, Hart G, Rattle S, Barratt CL.2006. Hum Reprod. Jan;21(1):145-9. PMID: 16267078 | url= http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=16267078|] .

The first detailed studies of ion channels in human sperm cite web | title= Multi-state, 4-aminopyridine-sensitive ion channels in human spermatozoa. | work= Gu Y, Kirkman-Brown JC, Korchev Y, Barratt CL, Publicover SJ. Dev Biol. 2004 Oct 15;274(2):308-17. PMID: 15385161 | url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15385161|] cite web | title= Patch-clamp 'mapping' of ion channel activity in human sperm reveals regionalisation and co-localisation into mixed clusters. | work= Jiménez-González MC, Gu Y, Kirkman-Brown J, Barratt CL, Publicover S. J Cell Physiol. 2007 Dec;213(3):801-8. PMID: 17516540| url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17516540|] .

Detailed characterisation of the events occurring in sperm in response to steroid hormonescite web | title= Biphasic elevation of [Ca(2+)] (i) in individual human spermatozoa exposed to progesterone.| work= Kirkman-Brown JC, Bray C, Stewart PM, Barratt CL, Publicover SJ. Dev Biol. 2000 Jun 15;222(2):326-35. PMID: 10837122| url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837122|] , including the discovery of slow calcium oscillations cite web | title= Slow calcium oscillations in human spermatozoa. | work= Kirkman-Brown JC, Barratt CL, Publicover SJ. Biochem J. 2004 Mar 15;378(Pt 3):827-32. PMID: 14606954 | url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14606954|] , now thought to possibly regulate motility cite web | title= Stimulation of human spermatozoa with progesterone gradients to simulate approach to the oocyte. Induction of [Ca(2+)] (i) oscillations and cyclical transitions in flagellar beating. | work= Harper CV, Barratt CL, Publicover SJ. J Biol Chem. 2004 Oct 29;279(44):46315-25. PMID: 15322137 | url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15322137|] . To date the identity of the cell receptors involved has not been clearly elucidated cite web | title= Non-genomic steroid actions in human spermatozoa - Persistent tickling from a laden environment. | work= Correia JN, Conner SJ, Kirkman-Brown JC. Semin Reprod Med. 2007 May;25(3):208-19. PMID: 17447210 | url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17447210|] .

Substantial follow-up data of children born through IVF treatment to check for increased risks associated with the treatment cite web | title= A survey of assisted reproductive technology births and imprinting disorders. | work= Bowdin S, Allen C, Kirby G, Brueton L, Afnan M, Barratt C, Kirkman-Brown J, Harrison R, Maher ER, Reardon W. Hum Reprod. 2007 Dec;22(12):3237-40. PMID: 17921133 | url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17921133|] .

Research on the area of gametogenesis, this includes research derivation of gametes from embryonic stem cells by Dr Sarah Conner at the University of Birmingham and work to identify the genes that are expressed during normal and perturbed spermatogenesis cite web | title= Coordinated transcriptional regulation patterns associated with infertility phenotypes in men. | work= Ellis PJ, Furlong RA, Conner SJ, Kirkman-Brown J, Afnan M, Barratt C, Griffin DK, Affara NA. J Med Genet. 2007 Aug;44(8):498-508. PMID: 17496197| url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17496197|] .

Due to its interest in human embryonic stem cell research, the group and associated clinic was one of five selected around the UK to receive Medical Research Council funding to elevate the IVF laboratories to ‘cleanroom’ levels. This is fundamental for producing human embryonic stem cells that are suitable for human use, as all stages of development were in strictly controlled conditions. These opened in summer 2006 and the clinic has maintained good clinical results at the new operating levels (see HFEA).

ChRS also has psychology collaborations to actively pursue research enabling better understanding of patient feelings and care during fertility treatment cite web | title= The socio-cultural and biological meaning of parenthood.| work= Purewal S, van den Akker O. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2007 Jun;28(2):79-86. PMID: 17538815| url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17538815|] ; and issues surrounding motivation to be a donor and receipt of donor gametes cite web | title= A review of family donor constructs: current research and future directions.| work= van den Akker O. Hum Reprod Update. 2006 Mar-Apr;12(2):91-101. Review. PMID: 16172110| url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16172110|] ;

Fertility Treatment & Diagnosis

The ChRS does not directly enter into patient treatment or diagnosis being focussed upon research. These are delivered through the affiliated Assisted Conception Unit at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.


The current HFEA Person Responsible on the Research Licences and Research Lead is Jackson Kirkman-Brown PhD.


External links

* [http://www.bhamivf.com/ ACU website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/localtv/console/birmingham/bb_rm_console.shtml?media_path=http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/avdb/local_tv/video/&nbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&bbram=1&media_dir=9012da6800321a0&media_file=09012da680032293&story_head=Male%20fertility%20kit%20invented%20in%20Brum Male Fertility Kit Invented in Birmingham BBC news]
* [http://www.fertell.com/ Fertell home fertility testing kit commercial website]

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