Mary Stephenson

Mary Stephenson, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACOG, RCOG (Fellow Ad Eundem)

Department Head of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Theresa S. Falcon-Cullinan Professor
Director, University of Illinois Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program

Center for Women’s Health, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Clinic
Phone: (312) 996-4322, Janneth Cruz, Assistant
Fax: (312) 355-3654

Academic Office:
Phone: (312) 996-7006, Brianna Banks, Assistant
Fax: (312) 996-4238

Medical School Residency Fellowship Graduate

University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia

Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility,
University of British Columbia

Reproductive Genetics and Immunology,

University of British Columbia


Dr. Mary Stephenson is internationally renowned for her clinical and research expertise in recurrent pregnancy loss. She is double board-certified in both Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, with additional training in reproductive immunology and genetics. She is an expert in the management of early pregnancy loss, recurrent pregnancy loss, fetal demise, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, autoimmune disorders in pregnancy, and recurrent IVF failure.

A tireless patient advocate, Dr. Stephenson emphasizes the importance of finding out why miscarriage occurs. She recommends sending miscarriage tissue for chromosome testing to determine whether the miscarriage was “explained”, due to an abnormal number of chromosomes, or “unexplained”, with correct number of chromosomes. Dr. Stephenson founded the University of Illinois Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program, which offers comprehensive evaluation and management, and close monitoring of pregnancy in the first trimester. Click here to learn more about the UI Health Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program.

For over two decades, Dr. Stephenson’s research has focused on therapeutic interventions for recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. Dr. Stephenson led the largest clinical trial to date on the use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in recurrent miscarriage. Although the results showed IVIG was not of benefit, with preconception evaluation and close monitoring in early pregnancy, once an intrauterine pregnancy was seen on ultrasound a live birth rate of 94% was attained.

Presently, Dr. Stephenson is Site Investigator for two randomized trials:
• ACTorNOT Trial (NCT02152696) which compares three currently available management strategies for women with a persisting pregnancy of unknown location (PPUL)
• ALIFE2 Trial (NTR3361) which evaluates whether prophylactic low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) improves live birth rate in women with recurrent miscarriage and an inherited thrombophilia.
• TRUST Trial (NTR1676) which evaluates whether hysteroscopy metroplasty improves reproductive outcomes in women with a septate uterus.

Dr. Stephenson has longstanding research collaboration with the University of British Columbia to identify submicroscopic additions or deletions to miscarriage chromosomes, with the ultimate aim of discovering “miscarriage genes”.

In 2017, the second edition of “Early Pregnancy” was published (Dr. Farquharson and Dr. Stephenson, Co-Editors, Cambridge University Press); this textbook embraces a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and management of recurrent pregnancy loss.

Dr. Stephenson is featured in the popular book by Jon Cohen, “Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage” (Rutgers University Press).

Dr. Stephenson is an Associate Editor for the journals Human Reproduction Update and Fertility & Sterility, and past Associate Editor for Human Reproduction. Dr. Stephenson is the International Advisor for the Early Pregnancy Special Interest Group for the European Society for Human Reproduction & Embryology (ESHRE). She is the Founding Chair of the Early Pregnancy Special Interest Group for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

In 2016, Dr. Stephenson became President of the International Gynecologic Society.

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

In June 2018, Dr. Stephenson was awarded Fellow Ad Eundem by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, a prestigious award bestowed to individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of Obstetrics Gynaecology.  Dr. Stephenson was recognized, “for her work as one of the world’s leading clinicians and translational researchers in the field of recurrent pregnancy loss.”

Selected Recent Publications

Rikken JFW, Kowalik CR, Emanuel MH, Bongers MY, Spinder T, de Kruif JH, Bioemenkamp KKWM, Jansen FW, Veersema S, Mulders AGMGJ, Thurkow AL, Hald K, Mohazzab A, Khalaf Y, Clark TJ, Farrugia M, van Vliet HA, Stephenson MD, van der Veen F, van Wely M, Mol BWJ, Goddjin M. The randomized uterine septum transsection trial (TRUST): design and protocol. BMC Womens Health 2018;18(1):163.

Barnhart KT, Sammel MD, Stephenson M, Robins J, Hansen KR, Youssef WA, Santoro N, Eisenberg E, Zhang H, NICHD Cooperative Reproductive Medicine Network. Optimal treatment for women with a persisting pregnancy of unknown location, a randomized controlled trial: The ACT-or-NOT trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2018;73:145-151.

Cuevas S, Burks C, McQueen D, Barkoff MS, Stephenson MD. Maternal antithyroid antibodies and euploid miscarriage in women with recurrent early pregnancy loss. Fertility and Sterility 2018;10:452-458.

Zamah AM, Stephenson MD. Antimullerian hormone and miscarriage: Fifty shades of gray… Fertility and Sterility 2018;109:1008-1009.

Burks C, Stephenson MD, Schust DJ. Contemporary evidence-based approach to the couple experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss: Standardizing terminology, testing, and treatment. Scientific American Obstetrics and Gynecology; Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility 2018;10;1-41.

Buyon JP, Kim MY, Guerra MM, Lu S, Reeves E, Petri M, Laskin CA, Lockshin MD, Sammaritano LR, Branch DW, Porter TF, Sawitzke A, Merrill JT, Stephenson MD, Cohn E,  Salmon JE. Kidney outcomes and risk factors for nephritis (flare/de novo) in a multiethnic cohort of pregnant patients with lupus. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2017;12:940-946.

Stephenson MD, McQueen D, Winter M, Kliman JH. Luteal start vaginal micronized progesterone improves pregnancy success in women with recurrent pregnancy loss. Fertility & Sterility 2017;107:684-690.

Burrows C, Kosova G, Herman C, Patterson K, Hartmann KE, Valez Edwards DR, Stephenson MD, Lynch VJ, Ober C. Expression quantitative trait locus mapping studies in mid-secretory phase endometrial cells identifies LHA-F and TAP2 as fecundability-associated genes. PLOS Genetics 2016;12:1-20.

Yelnik CM, Porter TF, Branch DW, Laskin CA, Merrill JT, Guerra MM, Lockshin MD, Buyon JP, Petri M, Sammaritano LR, Stephenson MD, Kim MY, Salmon JE. Brief report: changes in antiphospholipid antibody titers during pregnancy: effects on pregnancy outcomes. Arthritis & Rheumatology 2016;68:1964-1969.

Qiao Y, Wen J, Tang F, Martell S, Shomer N, Leung PC, Stephenson MD, Rajcan-Separovic E. Whole exome sequencing in recurrent early pregnancy loss. Molecular Human Reproduction 2016;22:364-72.

Kim MY, Buyon JP, Guerra MM, Rana S, Zhang D, Laskin CA, Petri M, Lockshin MD, Sammaritano LR, Branch Dw, Porter TF, Merrill JT, Stephenson MD, Gao Q, Karumanchi SA, Salmon JE. Angiogenic factor imbalance early in pregnancy predicts adverse outcomes in patients with lupus and antiphospholipid antibodies: results of the PROMISSE study. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 2016;214:108.e1-14.

For a list of Dr. Stephenson’s publications, please click the following link:

Recent Presentations

The 73nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, San Antonio, TX,  October 28 – November 1, 2017. Lectures:  “Epidemiology of Preclinical and Clinical Loss: Correlations, Definitions and Implications” and “Genetic Factors Associated with Preclinical Loss: Is There a Role for PGS/PDG?” Interactive Session, “Unexplained Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Controversies in Management”.

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society, Vancouver, Canada, September 14-16, 2017. Invited faculty, “Optimizing Luteal Phase and Early Pregnancy”

The 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Salt Lake City UT, October 2016. Postgraduate Course, Preparing for Pregnancy and Genetic Testing: What Should You Consider? Invited faculty, “Parental Chromosome Testing” and “Miscarriage Chromosome Testing and Cost/Benefit Analysis”

Reproductive Genetics Symposium, 13th International Congress on Human Genetics, Kyoto Japan, April 2016. Co-Chair and invited faculty, “Genetics of Couples and Miscarriages in Recurrent Pregnancy Loss”


Zamah AM, Burks C, Hobeika E, Jackson-Bey T, Stephenson MD. “Is Decreasing AMH Associated with Noneuploid Miscarriage in Patients with Recurrent Early Pregnancy Loss (REPL)?” Presented at American Society for Reproductive Medicine Scientific Congress and Expo on October 9, 2018 in Denver, CO.

Izewski J, Kane MH, Stephenson MD. “Likelihood of subsequent successful pregnancy outcome after evaluation and management of women with a history of idiopathic recurrent early pregnancy loss (REPL)” Presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Annual Meeting on June 23-26, 2019 in Vienna, Austria.

Research Funding

The Netherlands: AMC Medical Research BV (AMR), “ALIFE2:  Anticoagulants for living fetuses in women with recurrent miscarriage and inherited thrombophilia”, 2015-2020, Co-Investigator (PI: S. Middeldorp, and M. Goddijn, Amsterdam Medical Center)

The Netherlands: AMC Medical Research BV (AMR), “TRUST: The Randomized Uterine Septum Transection Trial”, 2016-2021, Co-Investigator (PI: M. Goddijn, Amsterdam Medical Center).

NIH/NICHD U10, Reproductive Medicine Network, “Optimal Treatment for Women with a Persisting Pregnancy of Unknown Location – A Randomized Clinical Trial of Women at Risk for an Ectopic Pregnancy – Active Treatment Versus Expectant Management: “The ACTorNOT Trial”, 2014-2019, Co-Investigator (PI: Dr. Barnhart, University of Pennsylvania).