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23andMe, Celmatix Launch Fertility Research Community

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – 23andMe and Celmatix announced today that they're teaming up to launch a new fertility research community. The goal of this initiative is to collect genetic data from women who are trying to conceive or have recently conceived and track their health, environment, lifestyle, and diet to determine how each factor relates to fertility outcome metrics.

This initiative follows the companies' announcement last year that they had agreed to collaborate on identifying, validating, and developing biomarkers to diagnose and treat infertility.

"This ambitious initiative will bring us closer to enabling any woman, who may want to have a child one day, better understand how decisions about lifestyle, diet, and when to start building a family may impact her ability to have as many children as she wants given her underlying genetics," Celmatix Founder and CEO Piraye Yurttas Beim said in a statement.

"Ultimately, this study has the capability to positively impact our understanding of fertility by leveraging big data, helping women understand their unique fertility, and empowering potential parents to make informed choices," added Emily Drabant Conley, 23andMe's vice president of business development.

23andMe will provide study participants with its Personal Genome Service at no cost. The collected dataset will contribute to Celmatix's larger research efforts to identify and understand factors that contribute to lifelong reproductive potential in diverse populations.

"The studies we have available right now to counsel women on their reproductive potential don’t include genetic-level insight and are generally smaller and less detailed than studies in other areas of health," said Jorge Chavarro, professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a scientific advisor for the study. "Not only does this work have the potential to drive the next generation of personalized medicine products to impact clinical management, but it will also likely result in significant contributions to our fundamental understanding of the science of fertility."

The initiative is recruiting 4,500 women, aged 18 to 45. The women can participate from home by consenting to provide a saliva DNA sample, answering online surveys every two months, and agreeing to share their de-identified data with researchers.