The Alan E. Beer Center for Reproductive Immunology & Genetics researches and treats couples who experience recurrent miscarriages, multiple pregnancy losses or repeated in vitro fertilization failures. Through science and a deep understanding of the role of the immune system in pregnancy, we help such couples achieve a successful pregnancy. The Alan E. Beer Center for Reproductive Immunology and Genetics was established by Dr. Alan E. Beer in 2003. An internationally known and respected physician and scientist, Dr Beer specialized in the treatment of infertility, implantation failure and recurrent pregnancy loss. Sadly, Dr. Beer passed away in May of 2006. His research shows that there are several categories of immune problems that can cause pregnancy loss, IVF failures and infertility. See: The Program
Introduction to our program
Couples who come to the medical center often have had the painful experience of recurrent pregnancy loss or repeat unexplained IVF failure. Many of these couples have already attempted pregnancy with the aid of assisted reproductive technology (ART) without success. For this reason, they often feel desperate and cast a wider net looking for miracles. They might have identified conflicting answers through personal contacts and/ or from various public sources. We understand that couples have been through years of searching and frustration. However, we are not here to offer the latest fad treatment. The diagnostic procedures and therapies practiced at the Center have evolved over many years while they are continually being assessed and developed. See: Testing.
For that reason, we would like patients to read carefully and critically the information provided on this website.
While we do not wish to introduce false hope in our patients, we are pleased to have achieved high success rates in couples who have failed other therapies. Please read the following material that explains the basis for our therapeutic approach. Please remember while reading these materials, that our therapeutic approach owes much of its success to the fact that couples coming to us have already been screened by their failures on other therapies to be amongst those most likely to succeed with our program.
From the name of the Center, it is obvious that our focus is immunology. Why immunology? In the 1950s a Nobel prize-winning transplant immunologist, Peter Medawar, suggested that the mother contains within her pregnant uterus a half-paternal transplant requiring adaption by the immune system. Immunologic thought today recognizes the active role of the immune system in adapting to the foreignness of the fetal transplant making the mothers immune system tolerant, if only for the duration of the pregnancy, to the semi-paternal transplant that comprises the growing baby. Medawar worked in close collaboration with Rupert Billingham with whom he described the phenomenon we know as active tolerance, the role of the immune system to first recognize and then ignore the presence of a foreign tissue which in the case of pregnancy is none other than the growing infant. See: Introduction to the Immune System.
The Centers founder, Professor Alan Beer was trained by Billingham and went on to chair the department of Obstetric and Gynecology at the University of Michigan. He later went on to head a program at the Chicago Medical School where he could focus his energies on the immunology of pregnancy and its dysfunction leading to recurrent pregnancy loss. Though Dr Alan Beer passed away in 2006, we are grateful for the medical ideas and founding philosophy that continue to guide our program.
Many will point out that immunologic dysfunction is just one of a wide variety of problems that may lead to infertility and pregnancy loss. Indeed, a large number of pregnancies fail because of chromosomal abnormalities resulting in fetal demise. While we believe that these defects account for a very substantial portion of pregnancy losses, the defects occur randomly and thus are unlikely to be significant causes of recurrent pregnancy losses and repeat IVF failure, especially in the younger set of patients. Patients who come to the center have frequently have seen other physicians who have tested them for a variety of conditions such as endocrine dysfunction, blocked tubes and male factors. Thus the couples who present themselves to the Center, have had other causes ruled out, and are more likely to suffer from immunologic factors. We hope that our website will provide the background needed to better understand the ideas behind the testing and treatments and provided at our center.