Several factors affect the fertility of both men and women, including lifestyle, environmental exposure, or a medical disorder.
The development of approaches for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) have been life changing for infertile couples, however this remains an inefficient process with little standardisation of the culture approaches. Indeed, it is not completely clear what is the best environment in which to culture an early human embryo.
Today, with the advances made in stem cell science, there is a greater potential to understand the earliest stages of human development. reNEW researchers can recreate models of the earliest stages of human development using pluripotent stem cells. The use of stem cells to generate germ cells, the oocyte and the sperm, are also being pioneered. These can then be used to study the mechanisms behind fertility and embryo implantation. The long-term aim of reNEW research in this area is to understand the unique mechanisms that support the early stages of human development so as to potentially improve in vitro fertilisation approaches.