Potential influence of the microbiome on infertility and assisted reproductive technology

Ido Sirota, Shvetha M. Zarek, James H. Segars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Although an altered vaginal microbiota has been demonstrated to affect parturition, its role in assisted reproductive technologies is uncertain. Nevertheless, the effect of known pathogens such as Mycoplasma tuberculosis, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae is clear, causing subclinical changes thought to be risk factors in subfertility. The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) has allowed for metagenomic studies to aid in characterizing normal vaginal flora. Recent findings from the HMP demonstrate that many different species of Lactobacillus are present in the vaginal tract, with a few that predominate. Studies that characterize the vaginal microbiome in assisted reproductive technology support the hypothesis that colonizing the transfer-catheter tip with Lactobacillus crispatus at the time of embryo transfer may increase the rates of implantation and live birth rate while decreasing the rate of infection. In addition, there is some evidence that a progesterone-resistant endometrium might increase the risk of an abnormal vaginal microbiome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in reproductive medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Lactobacillus
  • in vitro fertilization
  • microbiome
  • progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Physiology (medical)


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