Centre for Human Reproductive Science

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The Centre for Human Reproductive Science (ChRS) was established in December 2006 to further develop research and innovation in fertility diagnosis and treatment, working in partnership as the academic and research wing of the Birmingham Women's Fertility Centre at Birmingham Women’s Hospital and the University of Birmingham Medical School. A particular emphasis in the biomedical research strategy is placing research and discovery in the true physiological context.[1][2]

Current Research and Funding[edit]

The current focus and funding of the Centre includes:

  • Translational medicine research funded by the NIHR on Andrology and male factors in healthy live birth [3]
  • Research into the role for paternal sperm DNA damage in unexplained miscarriage, its diagnosis and treatment - as part of the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research [4]
  • Research into advanced computer-assisted diagnosis of male fertility issues - funded by the EPSRC [5]
  • A clinical trial of how to select the best sperm for ICSI and the associated basic science of how it works - HABSelect [6]
  • How engineering design and additive manufacture can be guided by human development processes - funded by the EPSRC [7]

Research Advances[edit]

The ChRS team alongside the Fertility Centre have made recent notable advances in various areas, these include achievements in:

  • Translational medicine, such as the invention of the male Fertell over-the-counter home fertility test.[8]
  • The first detailed studies of ion channels in human sperm.[9][10]
  • Detailed characterisation of the events occurring in sperm in response to steroid hormones,[11] including the discovery of slow calcium oscillations,[12] now thought to possibly regulate motility.[13] To date the identity of the cell receptors involved has not been clearly elucidated.[14]
  • Substantial follow-up data of children born through IVF treatment to check for increased risks associated with the treatment.[15]
  • Research on the area of gametogenesis, this includes research derivation of gametes from embryonic stem cells by Dr Sarah Conner at the University of Birmingham and work to identify the genes that are expressed during normal and perturbed spermatogenesis.[16]
  • Due to its interest in human embryonic stem cell research, the group and associated clinic was one of five selected around the UK to receive Medical Research Council funding to elevate the IVF laboratories to 'cleanroom' levels. This is fundamental for producing human embryonic stem cells that are suitable for human use, as all stages of development were in strictly controlled conditions. These opened in summer 2006 and the clinic has maintained good clinical results at the new operating levels (see HFEA).[citation needed]
  • ChRS also has psychology collaborations to actively pursue research enabling better understanding of patient feelings and care during fertility treatment;[17] and issues surrounding motivation to be a donor and receipt of donor gametes.[18]

Fertility Treatment & Diagnosis[edit]

The ChRS does not directly enter into patient treatment or diagnosis being focussed upon research. These are delivered through the affiliated Birmingham Women's Fertility Centre at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.


The current HFEA Person Responsible on the Research Licences and Research Lead is Jackson Kirkman-Brown MBE PhD.[19][20]


  1. ^ Barratt CL, Kirkman-Brown J (Jan 2006). "Man-made versus female-made environment—will the real capacitation please stand up?". Human Reproduction Update. 12 (1): 1–2. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmi051. ISSN 1355-4786. PMID 16354709. 
  2. ^ "ChRS - Centre for Human Reproductive Science - University of Birmingham". www.birmingham.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 
  3. ^ ORCID. "Jackson C Kirkman-Brown (0000-0003-2833-8970) - ORCID | Connecting Research and Researchers". orcid.org. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 
  4. ^ "Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research - University of Birmingham". www.birmingham.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 
  5. ^ RCUK. "gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/AED2A134-14C5-4A0A-B17E-790E437026A7". gtr.rcuk.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 
  6. ^ RCUK. "gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/7DD2E678-B754-4A73-9BFE-411F47AA8B5F". gtr.rcuk.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 
  7. ^ RCUK. "gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/48CFD853-3DD6-49AB-B7A2-347917B2CC8E". gtr.rcuk.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 
  8. ^ Björndahl L, Kirkman-Brown J, Hart G, Rattle S, Barratt CL (January 2006). "Development of a novel home sperm test" (Free full text). Human Reproduction. 21 (1): 145–9. doi:10.1093/humrep/dei330. ISSN 0268-1161. PMID 16267078. 
  9. ^ Gu Y, Kirkman-Brown JC, Korchev Y, Barratt CL, Publicover SJ (October 2004). "Multi-state, 4-aminopyridine-sensitive ion channels in human spermatozoa". Developmental Biology. 274 (2): 308–17. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.06.025. ISSN 0012-1606. PMID 15385161. 
  10. ^ Jiménez-González MC, Gu Y, Kirkman-Brown J, Barratt CL, Publicover S (December 2007). "Patch-clamp 'mapping' of ion channel activity in human sperm reveals regionalisation and co-localisation into mixed clusters". Journal of Cellular Physiology. 213 (3): 801–8. doi:10.1002/jcp.21153. ISSN 0021-9541. PMC 3549611Freely accessible. PMID 17516540. 
  11. ^ Kirkman-Brown JC, Bray C, Stewart PM, Barratt CL, Publicover SJ (June 2000). "Biphasic elevation of [Ca(2+)](i) in individual human spermatozoa exposed to progesterone". Developmental Biology. 222 (2): 326–35. doi:10.1006/dbio.2000.9729. ISSN 0012-1606. PMID 10837122. 
  12. ^ Kirkman-Brown JC, Barratt CL, Publicover SJ (March 2004). "Slow calcium oscillations in human spermatozoa" (Free full text). The Biochemical Journal. 378 (Pt 3): 827–32. doi:10.1042/BJ20031368. ISSN 0264-6021. PMC 1223996Freely accessible. PMID 14606954. 
  13. ^ Harper CV, Barratt CL, Publicover SJ (October 2004). "Stimulation of human spermatozoa with progesterone gradients to simulate approach to the oocyte. Induction of [Ca(2+)](i) oscillations and cyclical transitions in flagellar beating" (Free full text). The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 279 (44): 46315–25. doi:10.1074/jbc.M401194200. ISSN 0021-9258. PMID 15322137. 
  14. ^ Correia JN, Conner SJ, Kirkman-Brown JC (May 2007). "Non-genomic steroid actions in human spermatozoa. 'Persistent tickling from a laden environment'". Seminars in Reproductive Medicine. 25 (3): 208–19. doi:10.1055/s-2007-973433. ISSN 1526-8004. PMID 17447210. 
  15. ^ Bowdin S, Allen C, Kirby G, et al. (December 2007). "A survey of assisted reproductive technology births and imprinting disorders" (Free full text). Human Reproduction. 22 (12): 3237–40. doi:10.1093/humrep/dem268. ISSN 0268-1161. PMID 17921133. 
  16. ^ Ellis PJ, Furlong RA, Conner SJ, et al. (August 2007). "Coordinated transcriptional regulation patterns associated with infertility phenotypes in men". Journal of Medical Genetics. 44 (8): 498–508. doi:10.1136/jmg.2007.049650. ISSN 0022-2593. PMC 2597934Freely accessible. PMID 17496197. 
  17. ^ Purewal S, van den Akker O (June 2007). "The socio-cultural and biological meaning of parenthood". Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 28 (2): 79–86. doi:10.1080/01674820701409918. ISSN 0167-482X. PMID 17538815. 
  18. ^ van den Akker O (Mar 2006). "A review of family donor constructs: current research and future directions". Human Reproduction Update. 12 (2): 91–101. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmi038. ISSN 1355-4786. PMID 16172110. 
  19. ^ ORCID. "Jackson C Kirkman-Brown (0000-0003-2833-8970) - ORCID | Connecting Research and Researchers". orcid.org. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 
  20. ^ team,, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Strategy and Information Directorate, Web. "Centre for Human Reproductive Science". www.hfea.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°27′11″N 1°56′20″W / 52.4530°N 1.9388°W / 52.4530; -1.9388