Welcoming a Leading Mind in Reproductive Medicine
Dr. Laura Detti is a self-described “why” person with a passion for research.
“I like to understand the ‘why’ of everything. That’s what brought me here,” said Baylor’s new director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. “I was attracted to the incredible research going on at one of the few real academic centers left in the country.”
Over the past decade, Dr. Detti’s research has focused primarily on fertility preservation for cancer patients. Her interest in the mechanisms and causes of fertility loss has led to a new understanding of a molecule in nature that can protect a woman’s ovarian reserve during cancer treatment. She was among the first to study this anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in a therapeutic model using mice.
“Today we’re working on a new molecule that can mimic the actions of AMH at a fraction of the cost,” said Dr. Detti, a professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Ultrasound is another main interest, including published research on the use of ultrasound to predict a future miscarriage as early as the sixth week. “We found that with yolk sac dimensions we could predict a miscarriage more reliably than just looking at the heart rate or gestational sac dimensions,” she explained.
“We’re also working on using ultrasound to assess tubal patency, or blocked fallopian tubes, rather than using hysterosalpingogram (HSG). With tubal patency ultrasounds we’re able to see whether the woman can get pregnant naturally or needs to undergo IVF because the tubes are blocked.”
An additional area of interest is the study of uterine septum, a congenital anomaly, and its association with early pregnancy loss.
As division director, her plans include further development of the IVF program and Family Fertility Center and ongoing expansion of The Woodlands clinic.
“I’d also like for this division to become a national hub for fertility preservation in the pediatric population, helping patients who may not be able to have biological children when they grow up,” said Dr. Detti, chief of Reproductive Endocrinology Services at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “With our research and the relationship between Baylor and Texas Children’s, we are uniquely positioned to achieve that.”
Another goal: to become a center of reference for difficult REI cases, advancing the understanding and treatment of complex reproductive disorders.
“Fertility is only the tip of the iceberg of what we do,” noted Dr. Detti. “We are here to treat the full spectrum of underlying endocrine problems.” Her research on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) includes a study to help explain developmental differences in offspring of PCOS women and another on insulin resistance in fetuses born to women with PCOS.