Early Embryo Development

Safety, quality and improvement of the IVF technique are the main focuses of the ‘early embryo development’ research group. While in the beginning our research focused on the prevention of twin pregnancies and its associated health complications, a few years ago our attention shifted towards the effects of suboptimal embryonic environment (i.e. embryo culture in IVF) on the health of IVF offspring.

The mission of our group is to gain more insight into the role of suboptimal embryonic environment on the health of the IVF progeny and on the role of epigenetic regulation (i.e. embryonic programming) herein. By using human IVF as a ‘model’, this will not only help us increase the health of IVF children, but it will also contribute to the knowledge about the effects of environmental exposures during the embryonic period (e.g. by maternal nutrition) on infant and adult health in general.

To reach this aim, we work at four levels:

1. Preimplantation embryo
2. Fetus/newborn
3. Placenta
4. Child

The research is a combination of clinical studies with basic molecular epigenetic studies. If you are a patient attending the centre of reproductive medicine you can find more information about our current studies and other ongoing projects at the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology here.