Pregnancy complications and infertility problems examined in a comprehensive survey
Under the direction of researchers of the University of Tartu, about 6,000 people in Estonia, including pregnant women, women planning to get pregnant and people facing infertility, shall be examined. The purpose of the study is to establish new medical solutions for pregnancy complications, infertility of both sexes and for evaluation of diseases related to infertility, and to improve chances in prevention and treatment of infertility.
Population ageing, low birth rate and social and economic problems arising as a result are becoming more and more important topics in Estonia. The increase in possibilities of self-actualisation in the last couple of decades has brought about the postponement of having children. “According to the Estonian Medical Birth Registry, the average age of parents at the time of giving birth has increased by four years: in 2011, the average age at the time of giving birth is 29.4 years for women and 32.5 years for men,” states Maris Laan, a Professor of Human Molecular Genetics of the University of Tartu. She also points out that having a baby at a later period of life is related to a higher rate of men’s and women’s infertility, repeated miscarriages, extra-uterine pregnancy and other pregnancy complications. “The decrease in fertility is caused by lower quality of gametes, diseases and various factors of environment and life style,” Laan elaborates.
For the purpose of assessment of infertility and related risks, the data of 2,500 pregnant women and women who are planning to get pregnant and 3,500 male and female patients with infertility problems or reproductive system disorders shall be collected for the first time in Estonia. As a result of analysis of the data, non-invasive bio-markers, i.e. tests for assessment and prevention of pregnancy complications based on the analysis of DNA, blood serum or urine, shall be developed and new possibilities in the prevention and treatment of infertility shall be established,” adds Laan.
The comprehensive study shall be carried out in the framework of project “Happy Pregnancy” (01.09.2012-31.08.2015) funded (over 700 000 €) by the European Regional Development Fund. The project shall be a basis for a long-term series of research in reproductive biomedicine in Estonia as well as in international cooperation. In the project period, annual workshops take place where the top specialists all over the world will share their knowledge.
The project partners are the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of the University of Tartu, the Tartu University Hospital’s Women’s Clinic (Dr. Kristiina Rull), the Andrology Centre (Dr. Margus Punab), the Unified Centre of Laboratories Genetics Centre (Dr. Neeme Tõnisson) and Quattromed HTI Laborid OÜ (Dr. Paul Naaber).
For more information, please contact Maris Laan, a Professor of Human Molecular Genetics of the University of Tartu, the person responsible for the project “Happy Pregnancy”, phone: 737 5008, 5349 5258, e-mail: maris.laan [ät] ut.ee.