Innovations in infertility: a comprehensive analysis of the database

Drug interventions, particularly ovarian stimulation, comprise many trials in infertility. Live birth and mental health are infrequent study outcomes. Results are under-reported. Most trials are hosted outside the United States.

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VOLUME 116, ISSUE 5, P1381-1390


Benjamin J. Peipert, M.D., Daniel Spinosa, M.D., Elizabeth P. Howell, M.D., Jeremy M. Weber, M.S., Tracy Truong, M.S., Benjamin S. Harris, M.D., M.P.H. 



To characterize the interventional clinical trials in infertility and to assess whether trial location or industry sponsorship was associated with trial noncompletion.


Retrospective review of trials registered with







Main Outcome Measure(s)

Descriptive statistics characterizing the attributes of the clinical trials including intervention type, topic, population, completion status, size, location, sponsor, and results. The effects of the sponsor and trial location on trial noncompletion were assessed via logistic regression.


In total, 505 trials initiated between 2010 and 2020 were included in our analysis. Drug interventions were the most commonly studied (45%); ovarian stimulation trials accounted for 27% of the studies. Live birth was tracked as an outcome by 20% of the studies; 3% of the trials included mental health outcomes. Few trials (15%) enrolled male participants. Only 11% of the trials reported results, and 4% of the trials reported the race or ethnicity of the participants. Most trials (82%) were conducted outside the United States. Overall, 18% of the trials were not completed, most often because of lack of accrual (47%). United States trials had over twice the odds of noncompletion in univariate analysis (odds ratio = 2.48, 95% confidence interval = [1.47, 4.17]); however, this relationship lost significance after adjusting for potential confounders (odds ratio = 0.95, 95% confidence interval = [0.42, 2.14]). Trial sponsorship was not associated with trial noncompletion.


Infertility trials predominantly investigated drug interventions, particularly ovarian stimulation. Live birth was an infrequent outcome despite its relevance to patients. Clinical trials should aim to address the unmet needs in fertility care and be inclusive of underserved populations affected by infertility.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.