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Blake Evans, DO joins OU Reproductive Medicine

Blake Evans has joined OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine.  He joins us from completing his Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  Dr. Evans completed his residency at Oklahoma State University Medical Center in Tulsa and his DO degree at the Oklahoma State University for Heath Sciences  in Tulsa as well. Along with his duties at OURM he will be an associate professor in the OUHSC OBGYN department.

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OU Reproductive Medicine Physician Receives Grant to Further Study Frozen Embryo Transfers

OKLAHOMA CITY – For couples who are unable to conceive a child on their own, in vitro fertilization has fulfilled many dreams of welcoming a baby into the family. Physicians at OU Medicine regularly perform IVF for patients and, as part of an academic medical center, they also conduct research to refine the procedure in order to achieve the best health outcomes for both mother and baby.

Reproductive medicine physician Karl Hansen, M.D., Ph.D., who serves as Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the OU College of Medicine, recently received a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study one method of embryo transfer involved in IVF:  cryopreserved (frozen) embryo transfer. In particular, he is researching whether there are health risks associated with frozen embryo transfers in which a woman’s uterus is prepared for implantation with estrogen and progesterone compared to transferring an embryo in a woman’s natural cycle. The results of the study have the potential to dramatically shift the way IVF is performed.

“Our mission as an academic medical center is not just offering the standard of care to our patients, but pushing forward the standard of care,” Hansen said. “Our research and teaching missions are an important element of continuously improving our patient care and carrying it into the future.”

IVF has become common around the world. In parallel, the technology associated with the procedure has become more sophisticated and effective. In general, IVF involves retrieving eggs from a woman and using her partner’s sperm to fertilize the eggs. In a laboratory, the embryos are grown to what is called the blastocyst stage, then physicians transfer an appropriate number of embryos (today, usually one) back into the woman’s uterus in order to establish a pregnancy. 

In years past, IVF was most commonly done with a “fresh” transfer – an embryo was placed in a woman’s uterus immediately after being fertilized. However, frozen embryo transfers – in which embryos are rapidly frozen and safely preserved for transfer at a later time -- have become more common for a variety of reasons, Hansen said. Frozen embryo transfers result in pregnancy at a similar rate to fresh transfers, and if a couple has extra embryos, freezing them ensures they have a backup in case a woman doesn’t become pregnant on the first try, or if they want to have more children later. Hansen said frozen transfers also are a preferred option for couples who choose to have pre-implantation genetic testing of their embryos. If testing shows a chromosomal abnormality that has no chance of resulting in a pregnancy, then it doesn’t have to be transferred.

Hansen’s research focuses on the two different types of frozen embryo transfers, and whether one of them carries a higher risk of complications for mother and baby. One method of a frozen embryo transfer involves letting a woman who has a natural menstrual cycle (but has infertility issues) ovulate on her own. Doctors follow her ovulation and, at the appropriate time, thaw the embryo and transfer it into her uterus.

The other approach is for the doctor to create an artificial cycle by giving a woman estrogen for about two weeks. When an ultrasound shows that her endometrium is thick enough, progesterone is added to the estrogen regimen. Six days later, the embryo is thawed and transferred into her uterus.  This approach may be used in women that don’t ovulate naturally, or in women who do ovulate, for ease of scheduling.

Retrospective studies of both types of frozen transfers seem to indicate that the approach of artificially creating a woman’s cycle may come with a higher risk for pregnancy-induced hypertensive disorders, including pre-eclampsia, Hansen said. Pre-eclampsia is not only risky for the mother’s health, but it can cause changes in the placenta’s ability to nourish the baby and the infant may be born prematurely, he said. 

“Because we as a society are doing more and more frozen embryo transfers, identifying which of these protocols is associated with a lower risk of pregnancy complications is a public health issue,” Hansen said.

For this study, OU is part of a consortia with Stanford University and Johns Hopkins, with Johns Hopkins serving as the lead site. Each primary site (OU, Stanford and Johns Hopkins) will have affiliated, sites. Together, they will enroll over 750 women who have already elected to have a frozen embryo transfer because of infertility. The multiple enrollment sites are necessary in order to have a sufficiently large number of women to study and to ensure diversity, so that the results are broadly applicable, Hansen said.

Doctors and their research teams will follow and compare women who are having a frozen embryo transfer using a natural cycle vs. an artificially stimulated cycle. Throughout pregnancy and into each newborn’s life, the team will look for pregnancy-induced hypertension and its effects.

Hansen said they have a potential lead to follow. When a woman ovulates on her own and an egg is released from the ovary, the follicle becomes what is called a corpus luteum and begins secreting estrogen and progesterone. However, in an artificially created cycle, the corpus luteum is absent, which is why doctors give estrogen and progesterone. Hansen said their hypothesis is that the corpus luteum produces other compounds, yet to be identified, that may reduce the risk of hypertensive problems.

“Our first aim in the trial is to study the differences between the two protocols,” Hansen said. “But we will also be collecting samples during treatment and pregnancy to see if we can identify what else the corpus luteum is producing.

“But the hallmark of this trial is that it may impact care,” he said. “If we find that the risk of pre-eclampsia is higher in artificial cycles, then there will be a dramatic shift to performing natural embryo transfer cycles. Artificial cycles won’t be completely eliminated – there are women who will never be able to ovulate and still want to become pregnant through frozen embryo transfer – but if the risk for complications is higher, our clinical care will suddenly change.”

Research reported in this press release is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, a component of the National Institutes of Health, under the award number 1R01HD100305-01. This study is not conducting research on embryos; it is comparing two commonly performed standards of care. By federal law, the NIH cannot fund research on embryos.

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Heather Burks, MD joins OURM

Heather Burks has joined OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine.  She joins us from completing her Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellowship at the University of Southern California ( a world renowned program).  Dr. Burks completed her residency at OU and her medical degree at Vanderbilt. Along with her duties at OURM she will be a clinical professor in the OUHSC OBGYN department.

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New Location May 27th, 2015

On Wednesday May 27th, 2015, we will be seeing patients in our brand new state-of-the A.R.T. (pun intended) facility.  It is located in the OU Research Park which is across the street diagonally SW from the current location.

The address is 840 Research Parkway, Suite 200, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. 

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Karl Hansen, MD, Phd Named Chair of OB/GYN Department at OU

July 11th, 2014

Oklahoma City, OK -  Karl Hansen, MD PhD, Program Director for OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine, has been named the Chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department in the College of Medicine at The University of Oklahoma. 

The appointment was announced in a letter from M. Dewayne Andrews, Executive Dean of the College of Medicine and Senior Vice President and Provost of the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center:

"It is my pleasure to announce that Karl R. Hansen, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the College of Medicine (Oklahoma City). His appointment concludes a national search during which the search committee developed five well-qualified candidates for visit-interview consideration. After all visit cycles and interviews in the search process were completed, it was the recommendation of the search committee and the decision of College and OU Medical Center administrations that Dr. Hansen was the outstanding candidate and best fit for near-term and long-term institutional and departmental needs. 

Dr. Hansen currently is Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the OU College of Medicine and Chief of the Section of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI). He has been a member of our faculty since 2004, and he has served in a highly exceptional, productive manner as the interim chairman of the department since 2013. He has developed a nationally recognized program in REI. Dr. Hansen’s research work and publications focus on human ovarian function and reproductive aging factors. In addition to other/prior extramural grant funding, he is currently the Principal Investigator on a large NIH cooperative multicenter reproductive medicine network grant. He also holds appointment as adjunct associate professor of medical genetics in the HSC Graduate College. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and member of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards and recognitions. Congratulations to Dr. Hansen on his many accomplishments and on his appointment as Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We look forward to his leadership of this department.

 

M. Dewayne Andrews, M.D.

Executive Dean, College of Medicine

Senior Vice President & Provost, OUHSC"

 

Congratulations to Dr Hansen !!!

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$1.5 Million Grant for Infertility Research

February 26th, 2014

Oklahoma City, Okla. - OU Reproductive Medicine has received a $1.5 Million grant to conduct infertility research on a variety of issues.  "It allows us to to bring promising clinical trials research in reproductive health to this part of the country," said Karl Hansen, M.D., Ph.D, acting Chair for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

For more information and to read the full press release click here.

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Dr Craig Helps OKC Zoo's Gorilla Conceive

(Excerpted from the Edmond Sun) -  Visitors at the Oklahoma City Zoo watch as a western lowland gorilla named Kelele cuddles, licks and naps with her son. Leom is just a few weeks old, born on Feb. 14. His bright eyes are busy absorbing the world around his mother’s protective care.

Having a baby was new for Kelele, 19, after many fertility attempts were futile for seven or eight years. So the zoo contacted Dr. LaTasha Craig when it became evident that Kelele was having reproductive problems.

Craig previously had done some primate research when in training. A diagnostic laparoscopy was performed by her to examine if Kelele’s reproductive tubes were obstructed. Ultrasound was used to evaluate Kelele’s ovaries. Blood work revealed Kelele had a hormonal issue that was preventing her to become pregnant, said Craig, a fertility specialists for OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine.

To read the rest of the story in the Edmond Sun, click here

 

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The Best Doctors in America®

Congratulations to physicians Karl Hansen and Latasha Craig for being named one of The Best Doctors in America® for 2013.

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Welcome to the new OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine website

Welcome to the new OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine website.  Please take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with who we are and how we can help you along your journey.  Also, please call us with any questions and to set up a consultation with one of our highly skilled staff.  

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Contact Us

Inquire now and start a confidential conversation regarding your fertility care.

 

Dr. Karl Hansen, Dr. LaTasha Craig, and Dr. Heather Burks, , your Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Subspecialists and the OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine team, including Michael T Zavy PhDDr. Blake Evans, Angela King, PAC  and REI Fellows: Sushila Arya, MD, Sarah Gavrizi, MD, and Pardis Hosseinzadeh, MD who proudly provide the complete scope of infertility treatments including:

In-vitro fertilization (IVF), Fertility Preservation (egg freezing), Laparoscopic and hysteroscopic surgery, Frozen (cryopreserved) embryo transfer, Ovulation induction, Intrauterine insemination, Donor insemination, Recipient / oocyte (egg) donation cycles, Hysterosalpingograms, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, and Surrogacy / Gestational Carrier cycles

OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine
840 Research Parkway, Suite 200,
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
405-271-1616

 Other neighboring cities less than 90 minutes away include:Elk City, Weatherford, Ardmore, Pauls Valley, Chickasha, Lawton, Enid and Tulsa.
    Serving the Oklahoma City Area and the following Oklahoma cities:Guthrie, Yukon, El Reno, Norman, Stillwater, Shawnee,Bethany, Moore, Midwest City and Del City.