Reducing the risk of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome and improving oocyte maturation in IVF



Market Need:

A significant proportion of children in western and developing countries are now born using assisted reproduction technologies, including through in vitro fertilization (IVF). The IVF process typically involves:

-       hormonally stimulating the ovaries of women to produce multiple growing follicles

-       collecting the ova from these pre-ovulatory follicles and maturing them in vitro

-       fertilizing ova with sperm and culturing for a period of time to monitor early development in vitro; and

-       introducing the resultant embryo back into the uterus


Large doses of Gonadotropin, a follicle-stimulating hormone, or other ovarian follicle stimulating agents used in standard IVF procedures, can lead to a condition of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS).  Some reports indicate OHSS occurs in up to 35% of women undertaking ovary stimulation treatment as part of their IVF cycles, with women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome at much higher risk. OHSS provides added discomfort and stress to the patient, and in some severe instances of OHSS, urgent medical attention is required. When severe, the condition can be potentially life threatening requiring hospitalization, intravenous fluids, pain relief, and other medication.


The proposed invention will remove the need for hormonal-induced ovary stimulation IVF patients, significantly reducing the cost of treatment, and risk of OHSS.



The Technology:

Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a cytokine which is naturally occurring in the female reproductive tract.  Previous studies led by University of Adelaide researchers found that the addition of GM-CSF to culture media supports in vitro embryo development.  This led to the development of Origio’s culture media products, EmbryoGen and BlastGen, which are approved for commercial use in human IVF.


New research from the University of Adelaide has now shown that the addition of GM-CSF to maturation media increases the maturation and developmental competence of an oocyte in vitro, prior to fertilisation.


Extensive animal data is available, including in mouse, cow and pig models, demonstrating that the addition of GM-CSF to IVM increases on time blastocyst development, blastocyst rate and cell number.  Additional mouse studies have also been completed demonstrating GM-CSF in IVM increases pregnancy and live birth rates.



IP Position:

PCT / AU2017/051354 titled “Composition and methods for maturation of oocytes in vitro” has been filed, with priority date 09 December 2016.  All intellectual property rights are owned by the University of Adelaide.



Next Steps:

We are seeking international partners to collaborate with us on a clinical trial, to generate human oocyte and embryo data, to further validate this technology and support product development and commercialisation.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Kirsten Bernhardt
The University of Adelaide
Mark Nottle