Research & Training
Research at Hull IVF Unit
The Unit has an active research programme, working closely with the University of Hull and the Hull-York Medical School, and has developed a research programme over the past 10 years. Our current research interests are:
- What makes a viable embryo? We know little about the complex processes that form an embryo and why some embryos turn out to be healthier than others. Our research has shown that the nutrients that an embryo utilises from its’ culture medium can provide an indication of its’ developmental potential, the chances of a successful outcome and future health. We are currently investigating the impact that maternal diet has on the developing egg and subsequent embryo.
- Do insulin levels and chemicals present in the environment which may interfere with the body’s hormone system (endocrine disrupters), effect a women’s reproductive health? In this study women are tested for insulin, glucose and a number of other compounds indicative of inflamation and for endocrine disrupters. The results are compared to how well the women’s ovaries respond to drugs given as part of their IVF treatment.
- Why are ectopic tubal pregnancies more common after IVF/ET cycles than after natural conception? Our research has shown that at the time the embryos are transferred to the uterine cavity in an IVF cycle, the uterus is undergoing slow rhythmical contractions. Our video recordings have demonstrated how embryos can be pushed up into the fallopian tubes by these contractions, explaining why about 4% of IVF pregnancies are ectopic. Our research has also shown that if these contractions are too strong they can expel the embryos from the cervix. We can minimise the contractions by making the embryo transfer as gentle as possible, and for this reason all ladies who will require an embryo to be transferred through the cervix, have a trial to ensure that the chances of a problem arising at the time of the actual transfer are minimised. We are currently the only IVF unit with experience with the audio-visual techniques necessary for research into uterine contractions.
If you would like to become involved in any of the research projects we are currently undertaking at the Hull IVF Unit, please Contact Us.
Training and education
The Hull IVF Unit is proud to be involved in the training and education of future health professionals.
We regularly employ dedicated and skilled individuals as trainee embryologists. These individuals undergo a rigorous training programme to achieve their qualification, combining practical-based laboratory work with study. Our trainees bring vibrancy and innovation to the team and help ensure that our knowledge base at the Unit is as up-to-date as possible. Once qualified, our embryologists continually build on their skills via training courses and conferences.
For more information about training as an embryologist, please see the Clinical Embryologist page on the NHS Careers website.
We also frequently run training courses for medical students from the Hull York Medical School (HYMS). By doing this, we hope to bring a greater awareness of the importance of fertility issues to the medical profession.