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Shady Grove Fertility’s Landmark Research Study Earns ASRM’s Top Scientific Congress Prize Paper Award for Clinical Significance

One of the only fertility centers in the nation to employ a full-time, dedicated research team, Shady Grove Fertility (SGF) presented an unprecedented eleven studies including eight oral presentations at this year’s premier education and research meeting for reproductive medicine, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s 2018 Scientific Congress and Expo.

Among the many studies Shady Grove Fertility presented, one study in particular was considered so noteworthy that it was awarded the Scientific Congress Prize Paper for the most important scientific presentation at the meeting. Candidates for this award are selected by the Research Committee from all abstracts submitted to the Congress. The oral presentations are judged at the Congress and selection is determined by the Research Committee.

The study—whose authors included Kate Devine, MD, Kevin Richter, PhD, Eric Widra, MD, and Jeffrey McKeeby, MD—investigated whether fewer intramuscular injections yields the same results for a frozen embryo transfer (FET). The purpose of this study was to determine whether patients could achieve similar live birth rates without daily intramuscular injections.

“Unfortunately, removing the progesterone injections altogether and administering only vaginal progesterone resulted in much lower birth rates and higher pregnancy loss rates,” says Dr. Kate Devine, Director of Research at Shady Grove Fertility and first author on this study.

SGF results demonstrated that birth rates following frozen embryo transfer are the same with either daily intramuscular progesterone (IMP) administration or intramuscular progesterone once every 3 days along with daily vaginal endometrin as used in SGF’s SUSTAIN trial. In contrast, the live birth rate for frozen embryo transfers supported only by vaginal endometrin administration was 40 percent lower than that of cycles including IMP (28.6 percent live birth for endometrin only versus 47.3 percent live birth for daily IMP or IMP once every three days plus daily endometrin).

As a result of this trial, SGF has abandoned vaginal progesterone alone as a viable form of progesterone replacement in frozen embryo transfer cycles, while either daily IMP or IMP once every 3 days plus daily endometrin are both equally efficacious alternative treatments that can be selected based on patient preferences, financial considerations, etc. “We have every reason to believe that this trial may alter treatment protocol decisions for as much as quarter of all FET cycles in the country. Given the widespread and rapidly growing use of FET, this study could dramatically and positively impact live birth rates,” said SGF Research Scientist, Kevin Richter, Ph.D.

“For patients, these findings are particularly significant because it offers them a treatment option that requires fewer intramuscular injections, helping to alleviate some of the associated pain and discomfort, without compromising pregnancy success rates. Our commitment to making improvements in the care we provide to patients ultimately leads to better outcomes, not just for our patients, but of all patients across the country who are experiencing infertility,” adds Devine.

For the past 26 years, the physicians at Shady Grove Fertility have placed a high value on conducting clinical research, which is why they employ a full-time dedicated research staff under the direction of physician and Director of Research, Kate Devine, M.D., and Research Scientist, Kevin Richter, Ph.D. The practice remains at the forefront of reproductive medicine by constantly improving protocols and methodologies and seeking better, safer, and more efficient ways of helping patients overcome infertility.

“It is one of the core values of our practice to constantly refine treatment protocols and understand treatment outcomes so that we can help more people achieve the goal of a successful pregnancy,” says Devine.

To learn more about ongoing research being conducted at Shady Grove Fertility: visit

About Shady Grove Fertility (SGF)
SGF is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence with more than 50,000 babies born and counting. With 32 locations throughout MD, PA, VA, D.C., GA, and FL, we offer patients individualized care, accept most insurance plans, and make treatment affordable through innovative financial options, including treatment guarantees. More physicians refer their patients to SGF than any other center. Call 1-888-761-1967 or visit

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