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Concept: Assisted reproductive technology


Determine whether testicular sperm extractions and pregnancy outcomes are influenced by male and female infertility diagnoses, location of surgical center and time to cryopreservation.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Reproduction, Sex, Infertility, Fertility, Spermatozoon, Assisted reproductive technology, Gamete


Ovarian stimulation drugs, in particular hormonal agents used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) required to perform in vitro fertilization, increase estrogen and progesterone levels and have therefore been suspected to influence breast cancer risk. This study aims to investigate whether infertility and hormonal fertility treatment influences mammographic density, a strong hormone-responsive risk factor for breast cancer.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Menopause, Estrogen, Fertility, In vitro fertilisation, Assisted reproductive technology


BACKGROUNDGenetic testing of preimplantation embryos has been used for preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). Microarray technology is being introduced in both these contexts, and whole genome sequencing of blastomeres is also expeted to become possible soon. The amount of extra information such tests will yield may prove to be beneficial for embryo selection, will also raise various ethical issues. We present an overview of the developments and an agenda-setting exploration of the ethical issues.METHODSThe paper is a joint endeavour by the presenters at an explorative ‘campus meeting’ organized by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in cooperation with the department of Health, Ethics & Society of the Maastricht University (The Netherlands).RESULTSThe increasing amount and detail of information that new screening techniques such as microarrays and whole genome sequencing offer does not automatically coincide with an increasing understanding of the prospects of an embryo. From a technical point of view, the future of comprehensive embryo testing may go together with developments in preconception carrier screening. From an ethical point of view, the increasing complexity and amount of information yielded by comprehensive testing techniques will lead to challenges to the principle of reproductive autonomy and the right of the child to an open future, and may imply a possible larger responsibility of the clinician towards the welfare of the future child. Combinations of preconception carrier testing and embryo testing may solve some of these ethical questions but could introduce others.CONCLUSIONSAs comprehensive testing techniques are entering the IVF clinic, there is a need for a thorough rethinking of traditional ethical paradigms regarding medically assisted reproduction.

Concepts: In vitro fertilisation, Ethics, Assisted reproductive technology, Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Prenatal diagnosis, Medical genetics, Embryo transfer, Gattaca


BACKGROUND: Gonadotrophins are used routinely for follicular stimulation during ovarian induction and assisted reproduction techniques. Developments in recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone preparations and their injection devices have improved patient quality of life by enabling patients to self-administer treatment at home. The objective of this study was to investigate patient experiences of learning to use and overall satisfaction with the follitropin-alpha (Gonal-f) filled-by-mass (FbM) prefilled pen. METHODS: This questionnaire-based survey study was conducted in 23 fertility centres in Japan over a period of 14 months. Patients who were receiving fertility treatment with the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen were asked to complete a questionnaire to assess their satisfaction, ease of learning and use, and injection site pain following treatment. RESULTS: A total of 663 women participated in the study. The majority of patients found the instructions for administering follitropin-alpha with the prefilled pen easy to understand (83.0%; n = 546/658) and patients found that a hands-on demonstration by a nurse or doctor was the most useful tool for learning to use the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen (80.0%; n = 497/621). Forty-eight percent (n = 318) of patients in the study had previous experience with different types of fertility medications and the majority of these patients found the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen easier to use (75.1%; n = 232/309) and less painful (89.0%; n = 347/390) than their previous medication. The majority (80.2%; n = 521/650) of patients reported overall satisfaction with the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen. CONCLUSIONS: The follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen is an easy-to-use injection device according to this questionnaire-based survey. Patients who had experience of different types of fertility medication preferred the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen to other injection devices.

Concepts: Hormone, Menopause, Physician, Infertility, Fertility medication, Assisted reproductive technology, Pharmaceutical drug, Follicle-stimulating hormone


The extent to which birth defects after infertility treatment may be explained by underlying parental factors is uncertain.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Risk, Infertility, Assisted reproductive technology, Uncertainty, Fertility medicine, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, Reproductive technology


Fertility treatment is associated with increased risk of major birth defects, which varies between in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and is significantly reduced by embryo freezing. We therefore examined a range of additional perinatal outcomes for these exposures.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Reproduction, Infertility, Fertility, In vitro fertilisation, Assisted reproductive technology, Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Fertility medicine


Children conceived via assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are nowadays a substantial proportion of the population. It is important to follow up these children and evaluate whether they have elevated health risks compared to naturally conceived (NC) children. In recent years there has been a lot of work in this field. This review will summarize what is known about the health of ART-conceived children, encompassing neonatal outcomes, birth defects, growth and gonadal developments, physical health, neurological and neurodevelopmental outcomes, psychosocial developments, risk for cancer, and epigenetic abnormalities. Most of the children conceived after ART are normal. However, there is increasing evidence that ART-conceived children are at higher risk of poor perinatal outcome, birth defects, and epigenetic disorders, and the mechanism(s) leading to these changes have not been elucidated. Continuous follow-up of children after ART is of great importance as they progress through adolescence into adulthood, and new ART techniques are constantly being introduced.

Concepts: Medicine, Pregnancy, Human, Reproduction, Assisted reproductive technology, Reproductive technology


Animal experiments suggest that ingestion of pesticide mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations decreases the number of live-born offspring. Whether the same is true in humans is unknown.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Reproduction, Infertility, Assisted reproductive technology, Fertility medicine, Reproductive technology


Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is extensively used as a tool for pregnancy achievement in subfertile couples. Congenital and acquired thrombophilias have been suggested by some investigators to play a role in abnormal embryo implantation and placentation. The objective of this study was to assess the role of common thrombophilias in women with unexplained infertility undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF). We retrospectively analysed 594 women from a large healthcare maintenance organisation going through IVF and who had a thrombophilia workup, and compared them for prevalence of thrombophilia to two reference groups consisting of 637 fertile women from previous work and 17,337 women members of the same healthcare organisation with no history of venous thromboembolism. The mean age of the women at the first cycle of IVF was 30.9 years (SD: 4.1).The mean number of IVF cycles was 7.3 (SD: 5.0), and the mean fertility success rate per woman was 14.6% (SD: 19.0%). None of the common thrombophilias tested was found to be significantly associated with the number of IVF cycles or with lower fertility success rate. Rather, women who had APCR and /or factor V Leiden and lupus anticoagulant had significantly higher live birth rates (12.3% and 12.6%, respectively) in comparison to women who were tested negative (9.0% and 9.7%, respectively). Thus, hypercoagulability is not associated with failure to achieve pregnancy. These data suggest that neither screening for thrombophilia nor anticoagulant treatment is indicated in cases with unexplained reproductive failure.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Reproduction, Obstetrics, Hematology, Fertility, In vitro fertilisation, Assisted reproductive technology, Factor V Leiden


Infertility affects approximately 6.7 million women in the United States. Couples with infertility have significantly more anxiety, depression, and stress. This is compounded by the fact that almost 40% of couples undergoing assisted reproduction technology still cannot conceive, which can have an ongoing effect on quality of life, marital adjustment, and sexual impact.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Reproduction, Life, United States, Infertility, Fertility, Assisted reproductive technology, Reproductive technology