Reproductive tract microbiome in assisted reproductive technologies

Fertil Steril. 2015 Dec;104(6):1364-71. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.10.012. Epub 2015 Oct 24.


The human microbiome has gained much attention recently for its role in health and disease. This interest has come as we have begun to scratch the surface of the complexity of what has been deemed to be our "second genome" through initiatives such as the Human Microbiome Project. Microbes have been hypothesized to be involved in the physiology and pathophysiology of assisted reproduction since before the first success in IVF. Although the data supporting or refuting this hypothesis remain somewhat sparse, thanks to sequencing data from the 16S rRNA subunit, we have begun to characterize the microbiome in the male and female reproductive tracts and understand how this may play a role in reproductive competence. In this review, we discuss what is known about the microbiome of the reproductive tract as it pertains to assisted reproductive technologies.

Keywords: IVF; Microbiome; infertility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Genitalia / microbiology*
  • Genitalia / physiopathology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Infertility / microbiology
  • Infertility / physiopathology
  • Infertility / therapy*
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Reproduction*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*
  • Ribotyping
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Infective Agents