Dr. Mary Stephenson's Headshot

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

Professor (Retired) of Obstetrics and Gynecology

 

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

Biography

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.

Dr. Stephenson joined the UIC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2012 as the Department Head and Theresa S. Falcon-Cullinan Professor.

Presently, Dr. Stephenson is Site Investigator for three randomized trials:

  • The TRUST Trial (NTR1676), which evaluated whether hysteroscopy metroplasty improves reproductive outcomes in women with a septate uterus, has recently been published.
  • ACTorNOT Trial (NCT02152696) which compares three currently available management strategies for women with a persisting pregnancy of unknown location (PPUL). The results of the trial will be published shortly.
  • 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. Patient enrolment is complete, the results of the trial will be published shortly.

Dr. Stephenson has longstanding research collaborations 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 was an Associate Editor for the journals Human Reproduction Update, Huma Reproduction and Fertility & Sterility; she is still an active reviewer for several high-impact journals. Dr. Stephenson served as the International Advisor for the Early Pregnancy Special Interest Group for the European Society for Human Reproduction & Embryology (ESHRE) from 2007-2019. She was the Founding Chair of the Early Pregnancy Special Interest Group for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

In 2016, Dr. Stephenson was the 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

Quenby S, Gallos ID, Dhillon-Smith RK, Podesek M, Stephenson MD, Fisher J, Brosens J, Brewin J, Anderson R, Daher S, Regan L, Al-Memar M, Bourne T, Rai R, Christiansen OB, Sugiura-Ogasawara M, Odendaal J, Devall AJ, Bennett P, Petrou S, Coomarasamy A. Miscarriage matters: the epidemiological, physical, psychological, and economic costs of early pregnancy loss. The Lancet 2021;397:1658-1667.

Coomarasamy A, Gallos ID, Papadopoulou A, Dhillon-Smith RK, Al-Memar M, Brewin J, Christiansen OB, Stephenson MD, Oladapo O, Wijeyaratne CN, Small R, Bennet P, Regan L, Goddijn M, Devall AJ, Bourne T, Brosens JJ, Quenby S. Sporadic miscarriage: evidence to provide effective care. The Lancet 2021;397:1668-1674.

Coomarasamy A, Dhillon-Smith RK, Papadopoulou A, Al-Memar M, Brewin J, Abrahams VM, Maheshwari A, Christiansen OB, Stephenson MD, Goddijn M, Oladapo O, Wijeyaratne CN, Bick D, Shehata H, Small R, Bennet P, Regan L, Rai R, Bourne T, Kaur R, Pickering O, Brosens JJ, Devall AJ, Gallos ID, Quenby S. Recurrent miscarriage: evidence to accelerate action. The Lancet 2021;397:1675-1682.

Rikken JFW, Kowalik CR, Emanuel MH, Bongers MY, Spinder T, Jansen FW, Mulders AGMGJ, Padmehr R, van Vliet HA, Stephenson MD, van der Veen F, Mol BWJ, van Wely M, Goddijn M. Septum resection versus expectant management in women with a septate uterus: an international multicentre open-label randomized controlled trial. Human Reproduction 2021;36:1260-1267.

Buhimschi CS, Elam GL, Locher SR, Norris-Stojak D, Aldasoqi H, Stephenson MD, Buhimschi IA. Prevalence and neighborhood geomapping of COVID-19 in an underserved Chicago pregnant population. American Journal of Perinatology Reports 2020;10:e413-e416.

Morong JJ, McQueen DB, Stephenson MD. Luteinizing hormone surge more accurately correlates with ultrasound dating of early pregnancy compared to the last menstrual period. Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine 2020; 9999:1-7.

Whelan A, Burks C, Stephenson MD. Pregnancy outcomes in women with a history of recurrent early pregnancy loss and a septate uterus, with and without hysteroscopic metroplasty. Obstetrics & Gynecology 2020;136:417-419.

Dong AC, Morgan JC, Kane M, Stagnaro-Green A, Stephenson MD. Subclinical hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity in recurrent pregnancy loss: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Fertility and Sterility 2020;113:587-600.

Coomarasamy A, Devall AJ, Brosen JJ, Quenby S, Stephenson MD, Sierra S, Christiansen OB, Small R, Brewin J, Roberts TE, Dhillon-Smith R, Harb H, Noordali H, Papadopoulou A, Eapen A, Prior M, Carlo Di Renzo G, Hinshaw K, Mol BW, Lumsden MA, Khalaf Y, Shennan A, Goddijn M, van Wely M, Al-Memar M, Bennett P, Bourne T, Rai R, Regan L, Gallos I. Micronized vaginal progesterone to prevent miscarriage: A critical evaluation of randomized evidence. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2020;223:167-176.

Dong AC, Stephenson MD, Stagnaro-Green A. The need for dynamic clinical guidelines: A systematic review of new research published after release of the 2017 ATA guidelines on thyroid disease during pregnancy and the postpartum. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2020;11:193.

Rikken JFW, Verhorstert KWJ, Emanuel MH, Bongers MY, Spinder T, Kuchenbecker W, Jansen FW, van der Steeg JW, Janssen CAH, Kapiteijn K, Schols WA, Torrenga B, Torrance HL, Verhoeve HR, Huirne JAF, Hoek A, Nieboer TE, van Rooij IAJ, Clark TJ, Robinson L, Stephenson MD, Mol BWJ, van der Veen F, van Wely M, Goddijn M. Septum resection in women with a septate uterus: A cohort study. Human Reproduction 2020;35:1578-1588.

Stagnaro-Green A, Dong A, Stephenson MD. Universal screening for thyroid disease during pregnancy should be performed. Best Practice & Research: Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2020;34:101320.

Goba GK, George J, Alemayehu M, Amdeslasie F, Divelbess K, Makoul G, Curry RH, Stephenson MD. Translation, Adaptation, and Assessment of the Communication Assessment Tool in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Journal of Graduate Medical Education 2019;11(4 Suppl):141-145.

Goba G, Legresse AY, Whelan A, Divelbess K, Cavanaugh E, Mohammednur SA, Ramanathan A, Zelelow YB, Stephenson MD. Prevalence of stillbirth in Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, North Ethiopia: A Descriptive Retrospective Study. Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health 2019;11(3):26-32.

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.

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

Pubmed search link for Dr. Stephenson's publications

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).