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News: ART & Embryology training program

Chennai Fertility Center and Research Institute 07 December 2023
ART & Embryology training program

January 2024 Training Batch Schedule - 17th January 2024 - 31st January 2024.

The International School of Embryology a unit of Chennai Fertility Centre and Research Institute was established to offer training in Advanced Reproductive Techniques and Embryology for clinicians and embryologists. It will help them to know in-depth knowledge and have good hands-on training. The members of our teaching faculty aim to bring Clinician and Embryologists to the highest level of knowledge about Assisted Reproductive Technology and practical capability.

Our courses cover basics in Andrology, embryology, ICSI, and cryosciences (Hands-on).

Limited Seats. For admission Contact  9003111598 / 8428278218 (Whats app)


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News: Beyond Conception: Exploring the Link Between Infertility Treatments and Autism Spectrum Disorder

IVF.net Newsdesk 28 November 2023

The research published in JAMA Network Open on the association between infertility and the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children provides critical insights into the potential impacts of different modes of conception on child neurodevelopment. This study, conducted in Ontario, Canada, included a substantial cohort of over 1.3 million children and categorized them based on their mode of conception: unassisted, subfertility (infertility without treatment), and assisted reproductive techniques like ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

The study found that children born to individuals with infertility had a slightly increased risk of ASD, with the incidence rate of ASD being 1.93 per 1000 person-years in the unassisted conception group. Compared to this group, the adjusted hazard ratios for ASD were 1.20 in the subfertility group, 1.21 following ovulation induction or intrauterine insemination, and 1.16 after in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Notably, obstetrical and neonatal factors appeared to mediate a significant portion of the association between mode of conception and ASD risk. For example, following in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, factors like cesarean birth, multifetal pregnancy, preterm birth, and severe neonatal morbidity played a substantial role in mediating the risk of ASD​​​​.

Further insight into the relationship between assisted reproductive technology (ART) and ASD comes from a CDC report examining children born in California between 1997 and 2007. This report found that children conceived using ART were about two times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD compared to children conceived without using ART. The increased risk for ASD in pregnancies conceived with ART was largely due to the higher likelihood of adverse pregnancy and delivery outcomes, like being born as a twin or multiple, being born too early, or being born too small. Additionally, the type of ART procedure impacted the ASD risk, with a higher likelihood of ASD diagnosis in children conceived using intracytoplasmic sperm injection compared to conventional in vitro fertilization. These findings suggest that single embryo transfer, where appropriate, may reduce the risk of ASD among children conceived using ART​​.

Moreover, the CDC report also highlighted that children conceived using ART had a lower median age of autism diagnosis compared to those not conceived with ART. However, despite earlier identification, these children were less likely to have co-occurring intellectual disability or severe deficits in communication and social functioning. The differences in autism diagnosis age and symptom severity were largely accounted for by socio-demographic differences between ART-conceived and non-ART-conceived children. This suggests that earlier identification of autism in children from more advantaged families, who typically have greater access to ART services, contributes to the observed ART-autism association​​.

Overall, these studies underscore the complexity of the relationship between infertility treatments and the risk of ASD in children. They highlight the need for focused care and pregnancy plans for individuals with infertility, both with and without fertility treatment, and emphasize the importance of considering a range of obstetrical and neonatal factors to optimize child neurodevelopment.

Sources: 

JAMA Network Open
Infertility and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children

Medical Xpress
Risk for autism increased for children born to those with infertility

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Key Findings: The association between assisted reproductive technology and autism spectrum disorder

 

 

 


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Course: IVF Study Course

Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic 21 November 2023
IVF Study Course

Build a strong foundation in IVF

Our two-day IVF Study Course on the 2 to 3 February 2024 lays the groundwork for understanding and practising IVF procedures and will provide a practical learning experience with hands-on sessions with simulators.

Why choose this course?

  • Focused on IVF Fundamentals: Specifically designed for clinicians with some to no experience in IVF, our course lays the groundwork for understanding and practicing IVF procedures.
  • Practical Learning Experience: Engage in hands-on sessions with simulators, offering a basic yet essential understanding of key IVF techniques.
  • Expert Guidance: Learn from fertility experts who specialise in educating newcomers to the field, providing a supportive and informative learning environment.

Course highlights:

  • Introduction to IVF Procedures: Gain a solid understanding of the IVF process, from pre-treatment consultation to embryo transfer.
  • Insights into Ovarian Stimulation and Oocyte Retrieval: Learn the basics of ovarian stimulation protocols and the crucial steps of oocyte retrieval.
  • Fundamentals of Embryo Transfer: Get acquainted with the principles of delivering a highly successful embryo transfer.
  • Andrology: Learn how the andrologist assesses and manages male factor infertility.
  • Alignment with RCOG ATSM in Subfertility and Reproductive Health & BFS Assisted Conception Modules: While the course covers the basics, it aligns with the learning requirements of the RCOG ATSM in Subfertility and Reproductive Health and the BFS Assisted Conception Module.
  • AI in the IVF sector: Learn how to evolve in your job role as a fertility specialist in order to thrive in the era of AI.

View the full course programme

Perfect for those working towards the RCOG Subfertility and Reproductive Health ATSM; the BFS Assisted Conception Module; or Subspecialty Training in Reproductive Medicine and healthcare professionals early on in their journey in the field of reproductive medicine and IVF.

Taking place at our state-of-the-art Cambridge clinic in February and led by top experts in the field.
 

Begin your IVF learning journey:

Spaces are limited for this introductory course. Register now to take your first step into the world of IVF.

Register Now


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News: Connecting the Dots: Mobile Phone Use and Male Fertility

IVF.net Newsdesk 15 November 2023

In recent years, the question of whether mobile phone use impacts male fertility has garnered significant attention. A comprehensive study led by Rahban, Senn, Nef, and Rӧӧsli provides valuable insights into this ongoing debate. Conducted across Switzerland over a 13-year period (2005-2018), this study is among the largest of its kind, involving 2886 young men aged 18-22.

The core objective of the study was to assess the relationship between self-reported mobile phone usage and various semen quality parameters. Participants, recruited during military conscription, provided semen samples and completed detailed questionnaires about their health, lifestyle, and specifically, their mobile phone usage habits. This included the frequency of phone usage and where they typically carried their phones when not in use.

The findings of the study are particularly intriguing. Higher frequency of mobile phone use, defined as more than 20 times per day, was associated with a decrease in sperm concentration and total sperm count (TSC). This relationship remained significant even after adjusting for potential confounding factors such as body mass index, smoking habits, and alcohol consumption.

Interestingly, the study revealed a time-dependent aspect to these associations. The inverse relationship between mobile phone use and semen quality was more pronounced in the earlier phase of the study (2005-2007) and appeared to decrease over time. This trend might reflect the evolving nature of mobile phone technology, including the transition from 2G to 3G and 4G networks and a corresponding decrease in mobile phone output power.

However, the study did not find consistent links between mobile phone use and other semen parameters such as sperm motility and morphology. This suggests that while mobile phone use might impact certain aspects of semen quality, its effects are not universal across all parameters of male reproductive health.

An interesting aspect of this research is its methodological rigor. The large sample size and the comprehensive nature of the data collection, including a wide range of confounding factors, lend a high degree of credibility to the findings. Additionally, the longitudinal nature of the study, spanning over a decade, provides a unique perspective on how changes in technology might influence health outcomes.

Despite its strengths, the study has its limitations, primarily related to the self-reported nature of mobile phone usage data. This reliance on self-reporting can introduce biases and inaccuracies. Furthermore, the study did not differentiate between various types of mobile phone usage, such as calling, texting, or internet browsing, which might have different levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

The study's findings are a crucial step in understanding the potential impact of modern lifestyle factors, particularly technology usage, on reproductive health. They underscore the need for further research, especially studies that can more accurately measure RF-EMF exposure and its impact on the male reproductive system.

In conclusion, while this study provides compelling evidence linking frequent mobile phone use to decreased sperm concentration and total sperm count, it also opens the door for further inquiries into the nuances of this relationship. As mobile phone technology continues to evolve rapidly, understanding its health implications remains a critical area of study.

Sources:
Andrology
https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(23)01875-7/fulltext


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Webinar: CELLF CONTROL

International IVF Initiative 15 November 2023
CELLF CONTROL

Tuesday 28th November 2023 (3pm EST/8pm UK/9pm CET)
Control of cell division and origins of genetic errors in human embryos.

Moderators:
Dr. Manuel Viotti
Dr, Svetlana Madjunkova
Dr. Mina Popovic
Professor Jan Traeger Synodinou
Presenters:
“The first mitotic division: a perilous bridge connecting the zygote and the early embryo”- Dr. Giovanni Coticchio
“Meiotic and mitotic aneuploidies drive arrest of in vitro fertilized human preimplantation embryos” -Dr. Rajiv C. McCoy
“Human embryo live imaging reveals nuclear DNA shedding during blastocyst expansion and biopsy”-Prof. Nicolas Plachta
REGISTER


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Webinar: FERTILIZATION, WHAT MATTERS? FILTERING OUT THE NOISE.

International IVF Initiative 13 November 2023
FERTILIZATION, WHAT MATTERS? FILTERING OUT THE NOISE.

Tuesday 14th November 2023 (3pm EST/8pm UK/9pm CET)

Moderators:
Kimberly Kienast
Neringa Karpaviciute
Panelists: 
Prof. Gianpiero D. Palermo and Dr. Caroline McCaffrey
Presentations:
Introduction by Dr. Caroline McCaffrey 
"Perfect date – uncovering the molecular bases of human fertilization"- Dr. Zuzana Holubcová
“Improving sperm preparation” - Xavier Gonzalez 
“Vitrification of Sperm- Sounds like a Plan” - Chaya Rothschild
“à la recherche du spermatozoïde parfait” - Dr. Debbie Montjean 
Q and A
View at https://ivfmeeting.com/collections/sessions/products/session-125-fertilization-what-matters


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I3 Revisited: Highlighting Risks or Errors in the Lab

International IVF Initiative 13 November 2023

This talk, given by Dr. Denny Sakkas, the Scientific Director at Boston IVF in Massachusetts, USA, at an Alpha symposium organized by I3, focuses on highlighting risks and errors in laboratory settings, particularly in the context of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) labs. Dr. Sakkas emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing errors in laboratory practices to improve safety and efficacy. He discusses various types of errors, their frequency, and the impact they can have on IVF cycles and patient outcomes.

Dr. Sakkas presents data from a study conducted between 2003 and 2015, analyzing non-conformances in an IVF lab. This study categorizes errors into different grades based on their severity and impact on IVF cycles. He explains how even minimal errors can affect the success rates of IVF treatments and stresses the need for effective quality systems and procedures to minimize and manage errors.

The talk further delves into the comparison of error rates in IVF labs with other areas of medicine, indicating that IVF practices are relatively safe. Dr. Sakkas highlights the necessity of proper staff training, adequate staffing levels, and robust systems for error tracking and management. He points out that acknowledging and learning from mistakes, rather than concealing them, is crucial in reducing error rates and improving lab practices.

In conclusion, Dr. Sakkas underscores the importance of treating non-conformances as a key performance indicator (KPI) in lab management. He encourages laboratories to adopt a proactive approach in identifying and addressing errors, thereby enhancing the overall safety and effectiveness of IVF treatments.

The full session can be see here.

 


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News: The Harsh Reality of Fertility Treatment Amidst the UK's Cost-of-Living Crisis

IVF.net Newsdesk 12 November 2023

A Crisis Within a Crisis

The recent report by Fertility Network UK sheds light on a distressing reality: the ongoing cost-of-living crisis in the UK is exacerbating the struggles of fertility patients. With infertility affecting 1 in 6 people and bringing immense emotional and financial strain, the current economic climate adds another layer of hardship. The majority of UK fertility patients, not covered by NHS, are forced to bear the exorbitant costs of private treatment, averaging £13,750 per IVF cycle, pushing many to the brink of financial ruin.

Survey Insights: A Snapshot of Desperation

Fertility Network UK's survey, conducted in the summer of 2023, paints a grim picture. It reveals the severe choices and sacrifices fertility patients are making in the face of skyrocketing living costs. Key findings from the survey include:

  • Financial Burden: An overwhelming 95% of respondents reported financial worries directly related to fertility treatment, with many resorting to extreme measures like remortgaging homes, using credit, and even foregoing basic needs.
  • Demographics: Predominantly female (97%), white (85%), and in heterosexual relationships (79%), the respondents' demographic highlights the widespread impact across various communities.
  • Stages of Fertility Journey: Patients are at various stages, including undergoing treatment, in between treatments, and even those who have stopped due to successful outcomes or financial constraints.
  • Impact of the Cost-of-Living Crisis: A staggering 92% stated that the crisis has worsened their financial worries, citing rising bills and reduced ability to save for treatment.
  • Emotional Toll: The crisis has had a significant emotional impact on 90% of the respondents, leading to heightened anxiety, depression, and stress.

The Real Cost: Beyond Finances

The crisis extends beyond financial implications. The emotional and psychological toll is profound, with many patients grappling with the heartbreak of potentially never becoming parents due to financial constraints. The stress of mounting debts and the pressure of making high-stakes decisions under financial strain are taking a severe toll on mental health.

A Call for Change

Fertility Network UK emphasizes the urgent need for action. The report calls for fertility clinics to halt price increases and offer more supportive measures like payment plans. Moreover, there's a pressing need for government intervention to address the inequities in NHS-funded fertility treatment and to provide more comprehensive support for those struggling to afford private care.

Conclusion: A National Concern

The plight of fertility patients in the UK is a glaring example of how economic crises can have far-reaching impacts on personal lives. It's a stark reminder of the need for a more empathetic and supportive healthcare system that acknowledges and addresses the unique challenges faced by those struggling with infertility, especially in times of broader economic turmoil. The report not only sheds light on the hardships faced by many but also serves as a call to action for systemic change.


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News: Advancing Frontiers in Embryology: New Ethical and Scientific Paradigms

IVF.net Newsdesk 12 November 2023

Navigating the Complexities of Lab-Grown Human Embryos and Policy Shifts in the Netherlands

In the rapidly evolving field of embryology, recent breakthroughs in lab-grown human embryo models and pivotal policy recommendations in the Netherlands are setting new scientific and ethical benchmarks. These developments not only enhance our understanding of early human development but also challenge existing ethical frameworks, underscoring the need for a balanced approach in research.

Innovations in Lab-Grown Human Embryos:

The creation of lab-grown human embryo models marks a significant leap in embryology. These models, which are clusters of cells resembling the earliest stages of human development, are developed without using fertilized eggs. Researchers have employed human pluripotent stem cells, some derived from adult skin cells, to mimic the cell types essential for an embryo's development, such as the placenta and yolk sac. This advancement offers a unique opportunity to observe the initial stages of human development, which has been a challenging area to study due to ethical and technical limitations.

The implications of these innovations are profound. They promise to shed light on the intricacies of early human development, potentially unlocking answers to longstanding questions about miscarriages, congenital birth defects, and the effects of medications during pregnancy. Moreover, this research could pave the way for new therapeutic strategies and enhance our understanding of stem cell biology.

The Dutch Perspective on Embryo Research:

The Netherlands' Gezondheidsraad (Health Council) has recently proposed extending the permissible research period on human embryos from 14 to 28 days. This recommendation, if adopted, could significantly enhance our understanding of embryonic development and its associated anomalies. The Council suggests strict regulatory measures, including parental consent and the absence of viable alternatives, to ensure ethical compliance. This proposal is indicative of the Netherlands' moderate stance in the global landscape of embryo research regulations, balancing scientific pursuit with ethical concerns.

Ethical Implications and Global Context:

The ethical implications of these scientific advances are substantial. While the potential for groundbreaking research is undeniable, it raises questions about the moral status of these lab-grown structures and the boundaries of scientific exploration. The Dutch proposal, in particular, highlights the need for careful consideration of ethical boundaries in embryology research, especially in light of rapidly advancing technologies.

In the broader context, countries vary significantly in their regulatory stances on embryo research. While some regions have minimal restrictions, others impose stringent controls, reflecting diverse cultural, religious, and ethical perspectives. The Dutch recommendation represents a nuanced approach, striving to balance the promise of scientific discovery with ethical and societal concerns.

Future Directions and Challenges:

As the field of embryology continues to advance, it faces both opportunities and challenges. The development of lab-grown human embryo models opens new research avenues but also demands a reevaluation of existing ethical guidelines. The scientific community must navigate these complexities, considering the moral implications and societal impact of their work.

Collaboration among scientists, ethicists, policymakers, and the public is essential to forge a path forward that respects ethical boundaries while embracing the potential of these scientific advancements. The journey ahead in embryology research promises to be as challenging as it is exciting, requiring a concerted effort to balance innovation with responsibility.

In conclusion, these developments in embryology signify a pivotal moment in the field, marking both a scientific breakthrough and a call for ethical introspection. As researchers and policymakers navigate this terrain, the potential for new understanding and therapeutic approaches in human development continues to expand, heralding a new era in biomedical science.

Sources:

31 October 2023. Health Council of the Netherlands

26 October 2023. CNN

31 October 2023. Health Council of the Netherlands

31 October 2023. NOS News


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News: Regulatory Authorities Intensify Scrutiny on Fertility Treatment Add-Ons

IVF.net Newsdesk 04 November 2023

The fertility industry is facing heightened regulatory oversight as authorities begin a rigorous clampdown on unproven treatment add-ons offered by fertility clinics. These supplementary interventions, which are often costly for hopeful parents-to-be, have come under scrutiny for lacking substantial scientific validation.

In recent years, the proliferation of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has been accompanied by a surge in the availability of additional services and treatments, which are marketed with the promise of increasing the chances of conception. These add-ons include a range of techniques from immune therapies to endometrial scratching, many of which are offered without clear evidence of efficacy.

Regulatory agencies have expressed concern that the lack of robust clinical trials supporting these procedures may expose patients to unnecessary risks and financial costs. The move to tighten controls is driven by a growing body of evidence suggesting that some clinics are offering these services without adequate data to back their success rates.

The clampdown involves a multifaceted approach, including the review of marketing materials, the monitoring of clinic practices, and the enforcement of evidence-based protocols. Fertility clinics will be required to provide transparent information to patients, clarifying which aspects of their treatment are experimental and which are supported by strong evidence.

Furthermore, the initiative seeks to ensure that any additional interventions are provided within the context of clinical trials where their safety and effectiveness can be systematically assessed. This measure is intended to protect patients from the emotional and financial toll of undergoing unproven treatments and to foster a culture of transparency and trust in the fertility sector.

The reaction from the medical community has been largely supportive, with many professionals advocating for more stringent regulations that prioritize patient welfare and scientific integrity. This support aligns with the broader goal of ensuring that ART is both effective and safe, maintaining the industry’s credibility and the health of those it serves.

The crackdown on unverified add-ons is a significant step toward a more ethical and evidence-based fertility industry. As these regulations come into effect, they are expected to shape the landscape of fertility treatments, encouraging innovation while safeguarding patients against practices that do not meet established scientific standards.

 

Sources

Clampdown on unproven fertility treatment add-ons

BBC

Treatment add-ons with limited evidence

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

The responsible use of treatment add-ons in fertility services: a consensus statement
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority


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