Fertility & Reproduction

Solving subfertility and refining assisted reproductive technologies
Veulen drinkt bij merrie in een stal in de kliniek van Diergeneeskunde

Assisted reproduction has revolutionised animal breeding, however subfertility and pregnancy loss are still major contributors to economic loss within livestock and horse breeding programmes. Subfertility is also a common human medical issue affecting 20% of couples worldwide; for these couples, assisted reproductive technologies are the only viable route to parenthood.

Solutions to subfertility

Our research programme unites experts in embryology, molecular biology, biochemistry, bio-engineering, and clinical sciences. By fostering collaboration between basic research and veterinary and human clinics, we aim to understand the mechanisms underlying successful fertilisation and early embryo development and to develop solutions to subfertility in animal and human patients.

Tom Stout
Tom Stout

Our research focuses on subfertility and the production of healthy offspring in domestic animals, but the results can be translated into solutions for human infertility

Research themes

Bovine Fertilized Oocytes (TEM and CLSM)

We investigate the molecular events that prepare eggs and sperm cells for fertilisation. Our oviduct-on-a-chip systems enable us to examine the oviduct’s contribution to successful fertilisation and embryo development. Read more

Chromosome instability in IVF embryos

In vitro produced (IVP) embryos frequently contain aneuploid cells (i.e. with an incorrect number of chromosomes). Our aim is to understand the mechanisms responsible for aneuploidy, particularly in ageing mothers or after IVP. Read more

A horse embryo in shape of a heart

Embryo-maternal communication
Pregnancy loss is a major obstacle to efficient animal breeding. We use animal and in vitro models to understand the regulation of uterine receptivity and embryo-maternal communication. Read more


metabolism and fertility

Metabolism and fertility
Maternal metabolic disturbances have a broad impact on fertility and embryo development. We aim to understand the effects of specific types of metabolic disbalance on oocyte and embryo developmental competence. Read more

Reproductive organs on-a-chip

Expertise Centres
Our reproductive laboratory and animal clinics are internationally renowned for developing assisted reproductive technologies in domestic animals, advanced sperm quality analysis, and pioneering work in reproductive bio-engineering (organ-on-chip). These centers are available for collaboration with national/international academic and industrial partners. Read more