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Exploring Advances in Fertility Research and Access to Care

In This Video

  • The Fertility Center in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital is researching perfluorinated compounds, which are in common household items like Teflon or wrinkle guard, and their potential impact on reproduction
  • New technology in tracking watches allows women to track their menstrual cycle, which gives our researchers a wealth of information to look at characteristics and trends that might alter menstrual cycles in certain populations of women
  • The center is exploring what obstacles to fertility care exist for some populations, especially in a mandated state like Massachusetts, where most insurances cover fertility services

In this video, John Petrozza, MD, chief of reproductive medicine at the Fertility Center in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the latest fertility research the center is conducting, including perfluorinated compounds, and how different populations access fertility care.

There are lots of things that we're looking at in regards to infertility and when we look at reproductive outcomes it's a whole host of things that we can look at. Something we've been looking at for years is the impact of environmental factors on reproductive outcomes. We started probably back in 2000, 2001 looking at bisphenol A, and part of the reason things are now BPA-free is that a lot of the groundwork that we did back in 2000. And now we're going to start to look at things called perfluorinated compounds or things that are in Teflon, things that are in wrinkle guard, things that are in your stain protectors, so [we] are wearing it all the time. We do think that these things might have an impact on reproduction; we're going to start to investigate it very thoroughly.

We have a great collaboration also with the Harvard School of Public Health, looking at menstrual cycle abnormality. The newer Apple watches will allow women to track their menstrual cycle so this gives us a wealth of information where we can start to look at characteristics and things that might alter menstrual cycles in certain populations of women. So this is very unique and very fascinating sort of groundbreaking research that we're doing using new technology.

One of the things that's always interested us is sort of, access to care, and the diversity of patients that we see who are seeking care and assisted reproductive technologies or even reproductive surgery. You know, we live in a mandated state here in Massachusetts, where if you have most insurances, it will cover fertility services. Yet a lot of women of color don't seek those services for some reason, so is it access issues, is it where clinics are located, is it fear of seeking fertility care, is it cultural issues? Those are things that we're trying to tease out.

You know, one of the nice things about the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center is that we're uniquely situated in the heart of Boston, we're uniquely situated in the best hospital, I think, in the country and it really uses resources that are second to none.

Learn more about fertility care at Mass General

Refer a patient to the Mass General Fertility Center


In this video, John Petrozza, MD, chief, Reproductive Medicine at the Fertility Center in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, discusses virtual innovations by the department that provide continuity of fertility care and enable the Fertility Center to accommodate our patients during COVID-19.


In this video, Ilona Goldfarb, MD, MPH, maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses how past pandemics like H1N1 have informed the department's approach to the care and treatment of pregnant people during COVID-19.