Mary Stephenson, MD MSc

Theresa S. Falcon-Cullinan Professor and Department Head

Director, University of Illinois Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program


Mary Stephenson

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Castle Connoly America Top Doctors

Board Certification

Obstetrics & Gynecology; Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility

BS in Biology and Chemistry University of British Columbia

Medical School
University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia; Masters of Science in Experimental Medicine/Reproductive Immunology and Genetics

Obstetrics and Gynecology; Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Contact information

Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

820 S. Wood Street, M/C 808, Chicago, IL 60612 

P 312.996.7006
F 312.996.4238


Dr. Mary Stephenson is internationally renowned for her clinical and research expertise in Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. Her extensive training in reproductive immunology and genetics has facilitated her ability to link her clinical work with the laboratory.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Stephenson has assessed therapeutic interventions for recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. She recently completed the largest trial to date on the use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in recurrent miscarriage. Although the results showed IVIG was not of benefit, preconception care and close monitoring resulted in an astounding live birth rate of 94%, based on the presence of an embryo with cardiac activity at 6 weeks.

Dr. Stephenson emphasizes the importance of finding out why miscarriage occurs. She recommends sending miscarriage tissue for chromosome testing to determine whether the miscarriage is “explained,” due to an abnormal number of chromosomes, or “unexplained,” when the normal number of chromosomes are found. Dr. Stephenson and her research team reported that miscarriage chromosome testing is a cost effective strategy, and recommends that such testing become the standard with the second miscarriage.

Dr. Stephenson has a longstanding research collaboration with Dr. Evica Rajcan-Separovic, a geneticist at the University of British Columbia, to identify submicroscopic chromosomal imbalances in miscarriages which may lead to the discovery of “miscarriage genes.”

In 2010, Dr. Stephenson co-authored the textbook, Early Pregnancy, which embraces a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and management of recurrent pregnancy loss. She is featured in the popular book by Jon Cohen, Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage.

Dr. Stephenson was the founding Chair of the Early Pregnancy Special Interest Group of ASRM. She was an Associate Editor for Human Reproduction and is presently an Associate Editor for Human Reproduction Update and is on the Editorial Board for Fertility & Sterility.

In recognition of her exceptional work, Dr. Stephenson has held leadership positions in state, national, and international societies. Recent positions include Chair of Postgraduate Programs for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the North American representative for the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE): Consortium for Early Pregnancy, and President of the Chicago Association of Reproductive Endocrinologists (CARE). In 2011, Dr. Stephenson completed the prestigious Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program. In 2014, Dr. Stephenson was named Vice President of the International Gynecologic Society.

Dr. Stephenson has been awarded Top Doctor for 2014 (top 1% nationally) by Castle Connolly®, Chicago Magazine's 2014 Top Doctors for Women: Reproductive Endocrinology (top 1% in Chicago), and Best Doctor 2005-2014 (top 5% nationally) by Best Doctors®

In 2012, Dr. Stephenson assumed the position of Department Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and was awarded the Theresa S. Falcon-Cullinan professorship. She particularly enjoys mentoring medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty for careers in academic medicine.

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Stephenson’s clinical expertise includes evaluation of miscarriage, recurrent early pregnancy loss, fetal demise, antiphospholipid syndrome, autoimmune disorders in pregnancy, and recurrent IVF failure.  Dr. Stephenson has led several randomized trials to assess potential therapeutic interventions. Click here to learn more about Dr. Stephenson's Recurrent Pregnancy Loss clinical program.


Genetics of miscarriage, pregnancy outcomes in translocation carriers, subclinical hypothyroidism and miscarriage, obesity and recurrent early pregnancy loss, endometrial assessment, antiphospholipid syndrome; mechanisms and therapeutic intervention, outcome and decision analyses, and randomized trials to assess therapies.


Recent Publications & Presentations

Recent Publications

Wen J, Hanna C, Martell S, Leung P, Robinson W, Stephenson MD, Rajcan-Separovic E. Functional consequences of a miscarriage CNV disrupting the TIMP2 gene. Molecular Cytogenetics 2015;8:6:1-9, Epub 2015 Jan 31.                                                                                                  

Gammill HS, Stephenson MD, Aydelotte TM, Nelson JL. Microchimerism in women with recurrent miscarriage. Chimerism 2015, Epub 2015 Mar 16.

Gulum K, Stephenson MD, Lynch VJ, Ober C. Evolutionary forward genomics reveals novel insights into the genes and pathways dysregulated in recurrent early pregnancy loss. Human Reproduction 2015;30:519-529, Epub 2015 Jan 12.        

Buyon J, Kim M, Aslam A, Branch D, Cohn E, Garabet L, Guerra M, Laskin C, Lockshin M, Merrill J, Petri M, Porter T, Sammaritano L, Sawitzke A, Stephenson MD, Salmon J. Predictors of pregnancy outcome in a prospective, multiethnic cohort of lupus patients. Annals of Internal Medicine, Epub 2015 June 23.                                                                                                                                  
Bagheri H, Mercier E, Qiao Y, Stephenson MD, Rajcan-Separovic E. Genomic characteristics of miscarriage copy number variants. Molecular Human Reproduction, Epub 2015 Jun 12.            
de Jong PG, Quenby S, Bioemenkamp KWM, Braams-Lisman BAM, de Bruin JP, Coomarasamy A, David M, DeSancho MT, van der Heijden OWH, Hoek A, Hutten BA, Jochmans K, Koks CAM, Kuchenbecher WKH, Mol BWJ, Torrance HL, Scheepers HCJ, Stephenson MD, Verhoeve HR, Visser J, de Vries JIP, Goddijn M, Middeldopr S. ALIFE2 study: Low molecular-weight heparin for women with recurrent miscarriage and inherited thrombophilia. Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials Journal 2015;16:208:1-10, Epub 2015 May 7.

Boots CE, Bernardi LA, Stephenson MD. Frequency of euploid miscarriage is increased in obese women with recurrent early pregnancy loss. Fertil Steril. 2014;102(2):455-459.

Boots CE, Stephenson MD. Early pregnancy in obese women. In: Jungheim E, ed. Obesity and Fertility a Practical Guide for Clinicians. 2015.

Gammill HS, Stephenson MD, Aydelotte TM, Lee Nelson J. Microchimerism in recurrent miscarriage. Cell Mol Immunol. 2014;11(6):589-594.

Kosova G, Stephenson MD, Lynch VJ, Ober C. Evolutionary forward genomics reveals novel insights into the genes and pathways dysregulated in recurrent early pregnancy loss. Hum Reprod. 2015;30(3):519-529.

Kutteh WH, Stephenson MD. Recurrent pregnancy loss. In: Bieber EJ, Sanfilippo JS, Horowitz IR, eds. Clinical Gynecology. 2015:918-928.

Kolte AM, Bernardi LA, Christiansen OB, Quenby S, Farquharson RG, Goddijn M, Stephenson MD. Terminology for Pregnancy Loss Prior to Viability: a consensus statement from the ESHRE early pregnancy special interest group. Hum Reprod. 2015;30(3):495-498.

McQueen D, Bernardi L, Stephenson MD. Chronic endometritis in women with recurrent early pregnancy loss and/or fetal demise. Fertility & Sterility 2014;101:1026-1030. Epub Jan 23, 2014.          

Kolte A, van Oppenraaij R, Quenby S, Stephenson MD, Goddijn M, Christiansen O, on behalf of the ESHRE Special Interest Group Early Pregnancy. Nonvisualized pregnancy losses are prognostically important for unexplained recurrent miscarriage. Human Reproduction 2014;29:931-937. Epub March 6, 2014.                 

Mathur N, Triplett L, Stephenson MD. Miscarriage chromosome testing: Utility of comparative genomic hybridization with reflex microsatellite analysis in preserved miscarriage tissue. Fertility & Sterility 2014;101:1349-1352. Epub March 14, 2014.                                                                                                    

Boots C, Bernardi L, Stephenson MD. Does obesity increase the risk of euploid miscarriage in women with recurrent pregnancy loss? Fertility & Sterility 2014;102:455-459. Epub June 4, 2014.            


Major National and International Conference Invitations

International Congress on Human Genetics, April 3-7, 2016, Kyoto, Japan.                                                          
Chair, Symposium of Reproductive Genetics
Invited Presentation, “Genetics of Couples and Miscarriages in Recurrent Pregnancy Loss”

41st Annual DA Boyes Society Meeting & Obstetrics and Gynaecology Clinical Review, Vancouver, Canada, November 5-6, 2015.
Invited Presentation, “Update on Evaluation and Management of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss”

The 70th Annual Meeting of the America Society for Reproductive Medicine, Honolulu, HI, October 18-20, 2014    
Faculty, Postgraduate Course, “Interprofessional Course: Helping Patients Cope with the Psychological and Medical Sequelae of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss”
Interactive Session (Debate), “Is IVF/PGS Useful for Recurrent Pregnancy?”
Founding Chair, Early Pregnancy Special Interest Group

FIGO World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vancouver, Canada, October 4-9, 2015.
Invited Presentation, “Recurrent Pregnancy Loss”

The 31st Annual Meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), Lisbon, Portugal, June 14-17, 2015                                                                                        
Invited Presentation, “Recurrent Miscarriage: Optimizing Care and Research Opportunities”

Columbia University, New York, NY, April 15-16, 2015
Distinguished Professor   
Distinguished Lecturer Series, Grand Rounds and Resident Seminar. 

The 6th Biannual Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Congress, Antalya, Turkey, November 6-9, 2014
Meet the Expert Session:  “Genetic Evaluation for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss”
Invited Presentation, “Controversial Issues in Recurrent Pregnancy Loss”

The 70th Annual Meeting of the America Society for Reproductive Medicine, Honolulu, HI, October 18-20, 2014 
Faculty, Postgraduate Course, “Genetic Evaluation of Miscarriage” and “Nonvisualized   Pregnancy Loss”
Interactive Session (Debate), “Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: One should evaluate for Chronic Endometritis”
Founding Chair, Early Pregnancy Special Interest Group