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FERTILITY RATES

Baby boom is baby bust as post-lockdown birth rates take a dive

Birth rates in some Mediterranean countries have fallen dramatically in the first months of 2021, prompting speculation that ever-shrinking fecundity might signal economic hardship ahead. Can IVF help?

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EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE

Putting trust in the evidence of a game-changing clinical trial

A multicentre study analysing patterns of ovarian stimulation before and after the OPTIMIST trial found some protocol changes in routine practice but generally a ‘poor’ uptake of the study’s recommendation to avoid individualised starting doses.

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COVID-19 VACCINE

Fake news: authorities rush to correct rumours that COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility

False claims that the recently introduced COVID-19 vaccines impair fertility have been spreading on social media since December. The public worries which followed have prompted a unified response from professional and news organisations, denouncing the misinformation and particularly the ‘science’ behind it.

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ANALGESICS

New review of analgesics in pregnancy advises minimum dose for shortest time

Review of over-the-counter analgesics taken in pregnancy finds their prevalent use ‘high’ and increasing, with knowledge gaps apparent relating to fetal exposure and offspring health.

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BLASTOCYST-LIKE STRUCTURES

Human blastocyst-like structures generated entirely from pluripotent stem cells. Shifting the paradigm of developmental biology?

Four research groups have in the past few weeks independently reported that they have grown clusters of cells which mimic the function of human blastocysts. Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes, co-ordinator of ESHRE’s SIG Stem Cells, and deputy Mina Popovic describe how these breakthroughs might extend the present limits on human embryo research.

Best of 2021 Interview Luca Gianaroliwatch

BEST OF ASRM & ESHRE

Still a place for PGT-A, if not for everyone

Luca Gianaroli, who was first author of the first randomised study of PGT-A in 1997, tells Focus on Reproduction that the place of blastocyst testing for aneuploidy is still a matter of discussion. A debate on ‘PGT-A for everyone’ with Gianaroli and Richard Paulson will be streamed online at 18.30 on Friday 9 April as part of the Best of ASRM & ESHRE meeting, followed by live discussion.

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AIR POLLUTION

Ambient air pollution 'an unignorable risk factor for infertility'

A complex study of more than 10,000 couples in China exposed to varying levels of air pollution finds that for every 10 microgram increase in exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the risk of infertility rose by 20%.

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COVID-19 VACCINE

‘Clear evidence’ of an immune response to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in pregnant women

Largest prospective study to date finds that two mRNA vaccines induce an immune response likely to protect pregnant women and their infants from COVID-19 infection. ‘Excellent vaccine efficacy is very encouraging’ for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

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Best of ASRM & ESHRE

Double stimulation in predicted poor responders

Filippo Ubaldi, whose group in Rome has completed several studies of dual stimulation in poor responders in the same ovarian cycle and has now extended its routine experience, talks to Focus on Reproduction ahead of a Back-to-Back session at this year’s Best of ASRM & ESHRE meeting. The session will be streamed online at 16.30 on Friday 9 April, followed by live discussion.

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CHILD DEVELOPMENT AFTER ART

Growth patterns in ART children found different from those in naturally conceived

A large cohort study has shown that children conceived by ART are smaller at the time of delivery, experience a rapid catch-up growth, but are largely similar in height and weight to naturally conceived children at school age.

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