Research & Training
Research, Teaching & Professional Development at Merrion Fertility Clinic
Through our research and professional development programme, MFC is dedicated to advancing scientific discovery in reproductive medicine in order to improve success rates in assisted reproduction.
Our clinic is committed to the training of medical and nursing students, non-consultant hospital doctors, Consultants, GPs and the public. We run a Clinical Fellowship MD research program in reproductive medicine, and host a number of PhD and MSc student trainees. Merrion Fertility Clinic regularly organizes teaching events and seminars, and has been recognized by the British Fertility Society as a training centre for infertility management and assisted reproductive technologies.
Merrion Fertility Clinic and the National Maternity Hospital are also accredited by the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) as an ESHRE/ European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (EBCOG)-affiliated subspecialist training centre in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery. This important recognition of our program means that our trainees are eligible to become European Fellows of Reproductive Medicine (EFRM).
Merrion Fertility Clinic Doctors Present at “Fertility 2023” Conference
Fertility 2023 was recently held at the ICC, Belfast (Jan 10th -13th). This annual conference, jointly hosted by the Association of Reproductive & Clinical Scientists (ARCS), the British Fertility Society…Read More
Louise Glover, PhD – Head of Research
Dr. Glover joined Merrion Fertility Clinic as Research Officer in 2017, and she holds adjunct Assistant Professor/Clinical Lecturer positions at both Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.
Following her PhD studies, Dr. Glover completed postdoctoral training in Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado. She has served in the role of Principle Investigator and Co-investigator on several international projects funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Veterans Affairs.
Dr. Glover holds active memberships to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and the British Fertility Society. Her primary research focus is reproductive immunology, in particular how immune pathways in the endometrium are altered in infertility.
Research at Merrion Fertility Clinic is aimed at improving knowledge, expertise and care pathways in the field of reproductive medicine. Our research spans a range of topics, from the basic biology of infertility to identification of new clinical biomarkers.
Merrion Fertility Clinic has established strong links with several of Ireland’s top research institutions, including University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. Merrion Fertility is also a member of the UCD Perinatal Research Centre at the National Maternity Hospital.
The role of the endometrium in implantation (Link)
Failure of the embryo to properly implant in the uterus is a likely major cause of infertility, and may account for up to 50% of failed IVF cycles. Merrion Fertility Clinic works closely with the Comparative Immunology Group at TCD to study immune factors in the uterine lining (endometrium) that influence embryo implantation in unexplained infertility and infertility related to endometriosis.
Using Next-Generation sequencing, our researchers are also analyzing endometrial molecular signatures that are associated with successful embryo implantation, clinical pregnancy and livebirth outcomes after ART. This work is funded by the Grant for Fertility Innovation (Merck).
In collaboration with investigators in UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Merrion Fertility researchers are studying non-invasive markers of egg and embryo quality. The goal of this research is being able to better predict how well an oocyte or embryo can develop into a successful pregnancy.
Merrion Fertility Clinic researchers are investigating ways to improve on current clinical sperm analysis assays in unexplained male infertility. This project, a collaboration with the Reproductive Biology group at UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, is funded by the Irish Research Council.
Merrion Fertility researchers have conducted a number of studies to investigate public and patient perceptions and knowledge of fertility testing and fertility preservation. We are also focused on understanding the psychological impact that ovarian reserve testing can have on patients.
Merrion Fertility Clinic are collaborating with Children’s Health Ireland and the National Maternity Hospital to establish the National Fertility Preservation Program for Children, Adolescents and Young Adults (CAYA) with cancer.
Are you interested in participating in one of our studies?
Please speak to your doctor or nurse to see if you are eligible. For more information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Clinical Research Fellows
Sarah Petch – Clinical Fellow, MD Research Program
Dr Sarah Petch graduated with First-Class Honours from Trinity College Dublin in 2015. She is a member of The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (2019) and The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, UK (2023). She completed a Diploma in Clinical Education from NUI Galway in 2019 and is currently undertaking a Clinical Fellowship and Doctorate of Medicine (MD) at Merrion Fertility Clinic. She is interested in knowledge and attitudes towards fertility among doctors and improving education in fertility for doctors, particularly general practitioners. She is also researching ovarian follicle mitochondrial pathways in patients with diminished ovarian reserve
Andrew Downey – Clinical Fellow, MD Research Program
Dr Andrew Downey graduated with Honours in Medicine from University College Dublin in 2013. He is a Specialist Registrar on the Higher Specialist Training scheme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (2017) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists UK (2021).
Dr. Downey’s research interests include assessing fertility awareness and attitudes to fertility preservation among patients and the public. He is also researching novel markers of premature diminished ovarian reserve, to help identify patients who might benefit most from fertility preservation.
Niamh Joyce – ASPIRE Clinical Fellow
Dr. Niamh Joyce joined Merrion Fertility Clinic in September 2023 as an Aspire Clinical Fellow, with a primary focus on developing Fertility Preservation Services for Children, Adolescents and Young Adults (CAYA) in Ireland. Prior to this, she was a Senior Clinical Fellow in the NHS publicly-funded, tertiary fertility service at Princess Anne and Southampton University Hospitals in the U.K. Having carried out her premedical education at Columbia University in N.Y., Dr. Joyce graduated with honours in Medicine from University College Dublin in 2010 and completed her Higher Specialist Training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2022. Dr. Joyce is a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) and Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) and is also a member of the British Fertility Society and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).
The Merrion Fertility Research Publications
Our clinical, nursing and scientific teams are active members of the following professional associations:
- British Fertility Society (BFS)
- Irish Clinical Embryologists (ICE)
- Irish Cancer Society
- Senior Infertility Nurses Group (SING) UK
- Sharing Best Practice Nurses Group
- European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE)
- Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (IOG)
Recent Clinical Research Fellow Graduates
Rachel Elebert – Clinical Fellow, MD Research Program
Dr. Rachel Elebert is an honours medical graduate of the University of Limerick Medical School 2012. Having previously earned a BSc. in Physiology from University College Dublin, she is currently completing a Clinical Fellowship and Doctorate of Medicine (MD) with Professor Wingfield and UCD.
Dr. Elebert’s subspecialist clinical interest is fertility and her research interests include CAYA fertility preservation in cancer, impacts of FP counselling on patients and parents and development of national guidelines for identification of CAYA cancer patients most at risk of future fertility loss.
Sorca O’Brien – Aspire Clinical Fellow, MD Research Program
Dr. Sorca O’Brien received her medical degree from Queens University Belfast in 2010 following completion of an Honours Bachelor Science Degree (2004) and Masters in Physiology (2006) in University College Dublin. She completed Foundation Training in the NHS before returning to the Irish training system and specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She achieved membership of the Royal College of Physicians Ireland (2014) and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology UK (2019). She has recently completed a Masters in Leadership with the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland Leadership Institute, funded by a scholarship awarded by the 30% Club. Dr. O’Brien received her Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training from the Royal College of Physicians Ireland and the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Dr. O’Brien joined Merrion Fertility Clinic as an ASPIRE Fellow in Fertility and is a member of the British Fertility Society. She has a special interest in endometriosis-related subfertility and is particularly passionate about equitable access to fertility care. Her MD research focuses on the integration of assisted reproduction technology into the public hospital system.
Laurentina Schäler – Clinical Fellow, MD Research Program
Dr. Laurentina Schäler graduated with Honours from the Charité Medical School, Humboldt University, Berlin 2013. Since moving back to Ireland, she has embarked on a career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology under the guidance of The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and has also been awarded an Honours MSc in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (UCC) and Healthcare Management (RCSI).
Dr Schäler’s current research focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fertility services and fertility patients. In collaboration with researchers at TCD, Dr Schäler is also investigating the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on sperm.