Mapping research in assisted reproduction worldwide

Désirée García, Francesco Alessandro Massucci, Alessandro Mosca, Ismael Ràfols, Amelia Rodríguez, Rita Vassena
Reproductive Biomedicine Online

Research question

What are the current research trends in human assisted reproduction around the world?


An analysis of 26,000+ scientific publications (articles, letters and reviews) produced worldwide between 2005 and 2016. The corpus of publications indexed in PubMed was obtained by combining the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms: ‘Reproductive techniques’, ‘Reproductive medicine’, ‘Reproductive health’, ‘Fertility’, ‘Infertility’ and ‘Germ cells’. An analysis was then carried out using text mining algorithms to obtain the main topics of interest.


A total of 44 main topics were identified, which were then further grouped into 11 categories: ‘Laboratory techniques’, ‘Male factor’, ‘Quality of ART, ethics and law’, ‘Female factor’, ‘Public health and infectious diseases’, ‘Basic research and genetics’, ‘Pregnancy complications and risks’, ‘General – infertility & ART’, ‘Psychosocial aspects’, ‘Cancer’ and ‘Research methodology’. The USA was the leading country in terms of number of publications, followed by the UK, China and France. Research content in high-income countries is fairly homogeneous across categories and it is dominated by ‘Laboratory techniques’ in Western-Southern Europe, and by ‘Quality of ART, ethics and law’ in North America, Australia and New Zealand. ‘Laboratory techniques’ is also the most abundant category on a yearly basis.


This study identifies the current hot topics on human assisted reproduction worldwide and their temporal trends for 2005–2016. This provides an innovative picture of the current research that could help explore the areas where further research is needed.