The reproductive microbiome - clinical practice recommendations for fertility specialists

Reprod Biomed Online. 2020 Sep;41(3):443-453. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2020.06.014. Epub 2020 Jun 27.


The interest in and understanding of the human microbiome has grown remarkably over recent years. Advances in molecular techniques have allowed researchers to identify and study the microbiota and also use this information to develop therapeutic solutions for a spectrum of conditions. Alongside the growing interest in the microbiome, societal changes have resulted in many couples looking to start families later in life, therefore increasing the demand for assisted reproductive technologies. Combining these trends, it makes sense that clinicians are eager to understand and exploit the microbiome of their patients, i.e. the reproductive microbiome, in order to help them achieve their goal of becoming parents. This paper aims to provide an overview of the current and future research into the reproductive microbiome in relation to fertility and also share clinical practice recommendations for physicians who are new to this field or unsure about how they can utilise what is known to help their patients.

Keywords: Clinical assessment; Fertility; Pregnancy outcomes; Probiotics; Reproductive microbiome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microbiota / physiology*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*