New clues in mice link cholesterol to fertility

Whether made by the body or ingested through diet, cholesterol plays a vital role in cells. Cholesterol also is a building block of steroids and hormones, including those that trigger puberty and support pregnancy. A new study, led by Daniel Ory, MD, implicates a surprising regulator of cholesterol in cells’ ability to make these hormones, especially in tissues associated with fertility, such as the ovaries.

Olin School of Business professors examine the economics of infertility treatments

In vitro fertilization can cost anywhere from $10,000 – $15,000 for each round of treatments. This means access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) is generally limited to a relatively small portion of couples that seek it. Several state governments have turned to public policy in an attempt to make access to ART more widely available. But two professors from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis find that market competition can be as effective at expanding access as requiring insurance companies to cover infertility treatments. At the same time, competition appears to lower the rate of high-risk births and encourages the use of new technologies.