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Eggs & Society



Millions of women have undergone In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and hundreds of thousands of babies have been born. More than 85,000 women undergo IVF in the U.S. each year, with more than 25,000 IVF babies born annually. Nonetheless, the 1996 and 1998 U.S. Congresses decided that research on fertilized human eggs " meritorious and should be done for society..., but will not be funded by taxpayer dollars."

Thus, scientists seeking to study fertilized human eggs in an effort to improve success and reduce risks to mothers and babies cannot apply for U.S. federal funds to support their work.

Consequently, the burden of funding this research has fallen to private infertility clinics and pharmaceutical companies. Although fertility treatment is a multi-billion dollar a year business in the U.S., infertility clinics and pharmaceutical companies have not sponsored the urgently needed research. The mothers who undergo assisted reproduction, and the babies born, do not, therefore, have the benefit of basic research by U.S. scientists. It is for this reason that the Bedford Research Foundation launched a Small Grants Program to provide funds for scientists who wish to conduct basic research on human fertilized eggs. The goal is to award four small grants, approximately $60,000 per year for two years, to fund qualified research proposals from basic scientists with a collaboration with an infertility clinic. $60,000 per year will fund the salary and supplies of one research fellow. $400,000 per year is needed to fund this program. It is a beginning - with the goal of improved outcomes for infertile women and their babies.

IVF Small Grants Program

The mission of the IVF Small Grants Program is to raise money to fund research to improve the safety of IVF for women and babies. The current goal is to fund ten new research projects each year.

Professor Carol Warner Chairs the Foundation’s Scientific Committee.

Dr. Carol Warner is Matthews Distinguished Professor, Northeastern University, and an internationally famous pioneer in early embryo research. Professor Warner has volunteered her time to create a panel of experts to review applications for Small Grants funds. Two year awards of $40,000 each year will allow scientists to begin to answer important questions about egg and embryo physiology. The Foundation must raise $400,000 each year through contributions and endowments. Grant applications from all over the nation will be reviewed for funding twice a year by the Scientific Committee. Please help. We are seeking contributions in all sizes from individuals, corporations and foundations. 0.8 million dollars will endow each Small Grant; $10.00 from 0.8 million people will endow the program.


  • Human IVF is the only major U.S. women’s and children’s medical procedure with no federally funded support for basic research.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that one in six Americans experiences difficulty in having children.
  • The reason is a medical condition known as infertility, the inability to conceive a child after two years of trying.
  • Assisted Reproduction includes a variety of procedures to help couples suffering from infertility. The most technical method of Assisted Reproduction is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The mission of the IVF Small Grants Program is to raise funds to sponsor basic research in human IVF.
  • IVF is a widely used treatment, but it is also the most costly and only about 25% effective because of a ban on federal funding for IVF research.

The 1998 Congress reviewed the 1996 ruling, and recognized that research in IVF “...should be done for the benefit of U.S. citizens and society.” Nonetheless, Congress renewed the decision to not fund research in human IVF.

Thousands of babies are conceived each year through methods which have not had the benefit of the rigorous
scientific studies afforded all other U.S. medical procedures.

By the year 2003:
• 95,000 American women will undergo IVF annually
• 37,000 American babies will be conceived in laboratories each year


Many highly qualified U.S. scientists wish to study the most pressing problems in human IVF:

(1) low pregnancy rate

(2) risky multiple births

(1) Only 25% of IVF attempts result in a baby, even though IVF clinics seek to improve a woman’s chance for pregnancy by recovering many eggs per attempt. To accomplish this, the woman must inject herself with high doses of hormones which can have serious, life threatening consequences. Understanding how to improve the pregnancy potential of each egg could dramatically reduce risks and improve outcomes.

(2) There are no tests to determine which fertilized egg will give rise to a baby. For this reason, multiple fertilized eggs are transferred to the woman’s uterus to improve her chances of success. This practice has led to marked increases in twin and triplet pregnancies. Being pregnant with more than one child is a health hazard to both the mother and the babies.

A test to determine the potential of each fertilized egg to develop into a baby would eliminate this risk.


Connecticut Law Review "What is an Embryo?"

In Vitro Fertilization and Cleavage of Human Ovarian Eggs--The original report from 1944 about In Vitro Fertilized Eggs.

Please check back soon for more information.

Links to sites with news and information about reproductive research.
The Special Program of Assisted Reproduction-- A laboratory of the Bedford Research Foundation that provides semen testing
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)--More information on In Vitro Fertilization.

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