Infertility affects a large portion of the population, with an estimated one in eight couples in the United States having difficulty conceiving. There are many reasons for that – couples waiting longer to have children, for instance – but by understanding the complex mix of environmental and genetic factors involved, medical professionals can better treat and diagnose the condition.
That’s what this collaboration is about.
Over the last six years, Celmatix has discovered and annotated more than 5,200 different genetic biomarkers involved in fertility. By leveraging 23andMe’s massive genetic database – which includes input from nearly 200,000 men and women who have answered questions about fertility – Celmatix hopes to create tests that offer physicians better insight into the risks of infertility in their patients.
“The scale of the genetic data that 23andMe has amassed is unprecedented for the field of reproductive medicine,” said Piraye Yurttas Beim, Ph.D. the founder and CEO of Celmatix.
The collaboration may also help in the development of such things as early screening for the premature decline of ovarian function in women, which has implications not just on fertility but also general health. The effort is also inline with long term efforts by 23andMe.
“Fertility and women’s health have always been important to 23andMe and our research mission,” said Emily Drabant Conley, Ph.D., vice president of business development at 23andMe. “We chose Celmatix as our partner for fertility research because they are the leader.”
23andMe has conducted related research. In 2015, researchers at the University of Cambridge, working with scientists here at 23andMe, found half a dozen new genetic variants associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, the most common reproductive disorder in women and a common cause of infertility.
Over the years, 23andMe researchers have collected a steady stream of data on female fertility, male fertility and on couples.