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Advanced Reproductive Medicine Research Center

From April 2018, Dr. Kawamura is a director of the Advanced Reproductive Medicine Research Center and a professor of department of the Obstetrics and Gynecology in International University Health and Welfare. He graduated Aichi Prefectural Zuiryo High School and then Akita University School of Medicine in 1996. He obtained MD and PhD from Akita University School of Medicine and became a lecturer. He moved to St Marianna University School of Medicine to become an associate professor of department of the Obstetrics and Gynecology, a director of the Reproductive Medicine and a deputy director of the Department of Obstetrics. He is also working as a member of the Reproduction Center in Sanno Hospital, a visiting professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Stanford University School of Medicine. He has licenses of a specialist and supervisor doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a specialist of reproductive medicine in Japan.

Professor Kazuhiro Kawamura, Director of the Advanced Reproductive Medicine Research Center
Professor of the Department of Reproductive Medicine

Infertility treatment has developed greatly owing to the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in human. The research for IVF in human began in the 1940's, but its clinical application was tried in 1971. After verious trial and etorr, Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe succeeded IVF in human in 1978 and the world's first baby after IVF was born. After that, success was reported in other European countries and the United States, the first IVF baby in Japan was born in 1983.

At that time, the technique of IVF was immature and thus people used the self-made medium for embryo culture and performed laparoscopic surgery to retrive oocytes. At this early stage, IVF was done only at some university hospitals. Due to the development of transvaginal ultrasound and the advancement of drugs for ovulation induction, the current method for oocyte retrieval was established. Furthermore, companies began providing culture media and instruments necessary for IVF, and then fertility treatment by IVF spread from university hospitals to clinics. Currently, the number of IVF insutitution in Japan became approx. 600, and total annual number of cycles of egg collection and embryo transfer exceeded 400,000, becoming one of the world's most IVF countries.

The number of births after IVF treatment has also increased year by year, and now one in 20 babies is an IVF child. However, infertility treatment by IVF is now facing a big issue. In the background of tremendous increases in IVF in Japan, there is a rapid increase in patients with ovarian dysfunction due to late marriage. Ovarian dysfunction is a pathophysiologocal condition in which the number of residual eggs in the ovary is drastically reduced due to aging or pathological causes and the quality of eggs is declined. In ovarian dysfunction, pregnancy is difficult even if IVF is performed, and the most reliable infertility treatment method is IVF using eggs donated from young women. However, this method is not the best method because of ethical problems, as well as an increase in complications during pregnancy. We developed in vitro activation (IVA) therapy to enable such patients to conceive with their own eggs. The IVA approach activates residual follicles remaining in the ovaries of menopausal women which do not grow in the body, and then regenerates the follicle development followed by IVF. In 2013, we succeeded the first childbirth in the world after IVA treatment. The IVA was certified as the world' s top 10 medical breakthroughs selected by Time magazine of the United States in 2013. Our center will further improve this IVA therapy to improve clinical outcomes and advance this research to help more patients. Furthermore, we develp the center to function as the core center for spreading this method to the world through accepting and educating medical scientists and researchers from both domestic and overseas.

Outline of Project Koonotori (Stork)

Special Site of Project Koonotori (Stork)