for people ages 12 years and up (full criteria)
healthy people welcome
study started
estimated completion



The improved long-term survival of thalassemia major (TM) patients has resulted in increased focus on the ability to preserve fertility. While the association of iron toxicity with vital organ dysfunction, heart and liver, has been extensively investigated, the correlation of reproductive capacity and extent of iron overload is not well understood. Despite remarkable progress in methodology for prediction of reproductive status and intervention for preserving fertility, implementation in thalassemia is lacking. The investigators hypothesize that iron toxicity to the anterior pituitary occurring in the process of transfusional iron loading is directly associated with a decline in gonadal function. The investigators expect pituitary MRI measurements of iron deposition as well as markers of oxidative damage to correlate with the functional studies of pituitary-gonadal axis performed in this study. This cross sectional study will examine the relation of pituitary iron deposition and pituitary volume; serum iron and oxidative stress measures, liver iron concentration (LIC), cardiac iron and chelation adequacy with pituitary and gonadal reproductive hormone levels (and spermatogenesis in adult male patients), in order to better define the association of iron burden and chelation patterns with fertility potential, in thalassemia patients with iron overload. The study will assess whether the current chelation treatment regimens, in particular during the pubertal developmental age, are adequate for preserving fertility and could lead to improved chelation routines for preventing the high prevalence of compromised fertility. In addition, by utilizing state-of-the-art markers for fertility status, findings from this study may improve current methods for screening for hypogonadism and reproductive potential and allow earlier intervention. The investigators propose to examine 26-30 patients, 12 years and older, with measures of fertility potential, and correlate them to their current iron burden parameters and to the cumulative iron effect as indicated by past iron overload patterns and chelation history.

Official Title

Reproductive Capacity and Association to Iron Burden and Chelation Patterns in Thalassemia Major Patients


THALASSEMIA MAJOR Infertility Thalassemia Iron overload Pituitary Iron Load Oxidative Stress REPRODUCTIVE CAPACITY AND ASSOCIATION TO IRON BURDEN AND CHELATION PATTERNS IN THALASSEMIA MAJOR PATIENTS beta-Thalassemia Iron Blood Draw/Semen Exam Retrospective data/Chart Review/Relevant Clinical Results Pituitary MRI Laboratory Studies for Pituitary-Gonadal Function Data on iron burden and chelation history


You can join if…

Open to people ages 12 years and up

  • Transfusion-dependent* females and males with thalassemia (any genotype) who are 12 to 45 years of age.
  • History of at least 5 years of chronic transfusion (defined as ≥ 8 transfusions/year) (Age of initiation of transfusions does not matter)
  • Any pubertal stage.
  • Liver iron evaluated by SQUID, MRI or liver biopsy within 12 months prior to enrollment in the study.
  • Need to be able to stop hormonal therapy for 3 weeks (males) and one month (females) prior to study enrollment.

You CAN'T join if...

  • Pregnant or lactating during study enrollment
  • Unable to obtain liver iron concentration within 12 months prior or 6 months after study entry.


  • UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland accepting new patients
    Oakland California 94609 United States


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
Study Type
Last Updated