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SPERM SELECTION

Digging deeper: sperm selection with hyaluronic acid now linked to sperm DNA quality and reduced risk of miscarriage

Analysis of data from the 2019 HABSelect trial now finds that selection of sperm cells for ICSI based on their binding to hyaluronic acid was indeed associated with a real reduction in miscarriage rate, especially in women over 35. HA-based selection of sperm for ICSI could now be considered a part of the treatment plan for older female patients, say authors.

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PGT-P

Still doubts over embryo selection based on PGT for polygenic conditions

Advances in genomic technologies continue to expand the possibilities of PGT. In a preclinical research study recently published in Nature Medicine, scientists from Silicon Valley-based genetic testing companies have examined the potential of using PGT to predict complex polygenically inherited conditions in human embryos. While the authors present interesting data, Mina Popovic and Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes from ESHRE’s SIG Stem Cells here report that the study raises profound medical, technical and ethical concerns.

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HUMAN GENOME

The first ‘gap-free’ human genome now completed

Two decades after scientists first announced a reading of the human genome, a US consortium has now unveiled the fully complete version, covering the final 8% of formerly unread DNA and providing a gapless spectrum of human genomic variation.

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SLEEP

Disturbed sleep characteristics found to impair oocyte quality in cohort study

A large cohort study of more than 1200 women having IVF in China has found that ‘unhealthy sleep characteristics’ do indeed have some adverse effect on outcome by reducing the number of oocytes retrieved and their ability to fertilise.

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MALE INFERTILITY

The ongoing challenges for male reproductive health

A Campus meeting in October organised by ESHRE’s SIG Andrology and the Male Reproductive Health Initiative will address the diagnostic and treatment gaps in male infertility and present a blueprint for improvement. Chris Barratt, a founding member of the MRHI, talks to Focus on Reproduction about the meeting and about the present status of male reproductive health.

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EMBRYO TRANSFER

Improving the outcome of embryo transfer

A substantial meta-analysis of 38 interventions evaluated in 188 eligible trials found that three – the use of ultrasound guidance, soft catheters and hyaluronic acid at the time of ET – appeared to improve pregnancy rates; bed rest post-ET was associated with a reduction and ‘should not be recommended’.

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FERTILITY EDUCATION

International fertility education initiative steps up its activity

Against a background of evidence that people have limited knowledge about factors which affect fertility, including age, the International Fertility Education Initiative, now associated with ESHRE’s SIG Global and Socio-cultural Aspects of Infertility, is developing a wider international platform for the promotion of fertility awareness and preconception health through public education and research.

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CAMPUS: ENDOMETRIOSIS

Examining the link between endometriosis, fertility and cancer

A Campus meeting in April focused on many of the recommendations in the newly updated ESHRE guideline on endometriosis, and included associations with cancer risk, pain and infertility, and the role of surgery in their management.

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ANTIPSYCHOTICS

Antipsychotic drug exposure in pregnancy and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders

A birth cohort study involving more than 3 million children born to women exposed to antipsychotic drugs in pregnancy provides largely reassuring findings; risks from in utero exposure found not to be associated with medication.

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PARTHENOGENESIS

Offspring generated from a single unfertilised mouse oocyte

A new study has shown that targeted editing of epigenetic marks in the oocyte can be used to produce viable offspring without the need for fertilisation. The epigenetically-modified female mouse, born from the unfertilised oocyte, not only survived to adulthood, but also gave birth to viable pups. Mina Popovich and Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes from the SIG Stem Cells report.

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