ESHRE e-news / May 2010



In this e-newsletter:


1.    ESHRE 2010 - update

2.    The EU - connection

3.    ESHRE campus / educational activities

4.    ESHRE news

5.    News in reproductive medicine

       EQUATOR network

       Feature of the month: Ovarian Cancer

       Male infertility research on the rise

6.    ESHRE calendar



1. ESHRE 2010 - update


With the early bird registration deadline on 30 April now behind us we can proudly announce that we have already surpassed the number of participants by 1,500 compared to last year. With an approximate number of 6,000 delegates that have registered for the main programme or a combination of main programme and pre-congress course we have reached an all time high at this early stage of the registration process.


Reduced rates until 10 June

There are still spaces available for all 13 pre-congress courses. The next deadline for a reduced registration fee for the main programme and pre-congress courses is 10 June 00:00 CET. After this deadline you will pay the full on-site registration fee.


ESHRE 2010 abstract selection


The selection process of abstracts was finalised last month and once more we received abstracts from all over the world. You can find a geographical distribution of all abstracts here. If you scroll over Europe you receive a more detailed account of the European abstracts.


Spain topped the list in terms of submitted abstracts as well as selected poster presentations, closely followed by Italy. Speakers from the United Kingdom will hold 29 oral presentations in Rome, followed by 23 presenters from the Netherlands and 19 from Spain. The host country is represented with 10 selected oral presentations.

Outside Europe the US will send 18 presenters to Rome followed by Australia with 12 speakers. We are happy to announce that speakers have also been selected from less prominent countries such as Egypt (4 presentations), India (4), South Korea (3), Iran (2) and Russia (2). For a more detailed description visit our website or read the current Focus on Reproduction issue.


With 239 selected abstracts, 'Fertility Preservation' features prominently on this year's scientific agenda. More than 10% of all presentations in Rome will be related to this field with five related abstracts having scored amongst the top ten. Denmark (2), UK (2), The Netherlands (2), France (1), Ireland (1), Brazil (1) and Japan (1) are on this year's top of the list oral presentations.


Rome's top ten posters were submitted from Denmark (3), South Korea (2), Japan (1), Poland (1), Belgium (1), Australia (1) and Germany (1). Amongst all posters the topics Embryology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Andrology are most prominent. Please find below a summary of topics and related discussions in the poster village. If you have been selected for a poster presentation you will receive a letter in due course with more information.



Poster discussion

Poster Village




Cross-border reproductive care



Demography, epidemiology, registries and health economy



Early pregnancy






Endometriosis, endometrium, implantation



Ethics & Law



Fertility Preservation






Psychology & Counselling



Reproductive Endocrinology



Reproductive Genetics



Reproductive Surgery



Safety & Quality



Stem Cells





The session categories are: 


  - Biomarkers of early pregnancy outcome

  - Complications

  - Cross border reproductive care

  - Clinical ART

  - Efficacy in ART

  - Embryo development and implantation

  - Endocrine and immunologic aspects of early pregnancy

  - Endometrial biology in endometriosis and implantation

  - Endometrial function during implantation window

  - Endometrial function determines implantation success Rome Amphi

  - Endometriosis:  impact, diagnosis and surgery

  - Ethics & Law

  - Factors influencing fertility and infertility treatment

  - Fertility preservation

  - Life-style disease and male reproduction

  - Miscarriage: treatment and prognostic factors

  - New approaches for Sperm DNA testing

  - Novel Embryonic Markers

  - Novel Techniques for sperm selection

  - Oocyte / embryo freezing 

  - Oocyte maturation

  - Ovarian Reserve

  - Ovarian Stimulation

  - Paramedical laboratoryFiera

  - Paramedical Nursing

  - PCOS

  - PGD

  - Psychology & Counselling

  - Quality in ART

  - Reproduction and genetics

  - Reproductive surgery: female and male

  - Safety in ART

  - Single Embryo Transfer and ART pregnancy

  - Stem cells

  - The blastocyst

  - Understanding the male genome


Details on abstracts will be available for all delegates in early June on the ESHRE website. You will need to login in order to access this information.

The hotel reservation system is now available. You can book your hotel here. For group bookings, you may contact “Meridiano” directly by e-mail at or Hotel reservations will be confirmed on a “first come – first served” basis.

We are looking forward to welcoming you in Rome! For more information on this year's Annual Meeting please visit the ESHRE website.



2. The EU connection 

Eu flag 2

In future we are hoping to inform you more frequently on issues related to the European Union.

The 'EU Connection' will be a section of this e-newsletter where news in relation to EU wide legislation and issues will be presented. Any items that go beyond the borders of any European country shall be discussed and itemised here.


Not every month will we have something to feature here, but we hope this section will develop over time and lead to an increased interest in ESHRE's monthly e-newsletter. For comments and feedback you are always welcome to send an email to


EU to re-assess Clinical Trials Directive

Since 2004 clinical trials are regulated in the 2001/20/EC Directive, probably one of the most criticised pieces of EU legislation in the last decade. Implemented originally to improve research standards and to protect patients, it has instead caused higher costs, and lengthy application processes - both without any increase in participating patients.


Especially when companies and clinics are conducting international trials, parallel reporting systems and different ethical committees in the respective countries have led to an increased administrative burden in view of regulatory requirements which do not take into account practical necessities and constraints. The regulation does not take into account the increasingly global scale of clinical trials, for example for rare diseases where sample size in one country alone is too small. 

The European Commission has therefore published a roadmap which outlines the necessary steps to minimise these shortcomings. You can find the related article from Euractiv (an independent media portal reporting on EU affairs) here.


In the meantime the BMJ published possible solutions to overcome the most obvious obstacles of this Directive. 


The authors propose:


1)  one clinical trials association for all multinational trials

2)  simple procedures such as one set of application and approval forms

3) clear definition and role of ethics committees

4) risk based approach - adapt the regulatory requirements to the risk associated with it

5) facilitate collaboration between research groups via co-sponsoring

6) better definition of terms and concepts

7) increase public financial support

8) harmonisation of insurance requirements



Austrian IVF laws against basic right to a family - European Court of Human Rights decides


Similar to Germany, in the interest of the embryo, Austria's IVF laws are amongst the most restrictive in Europe. 

Austria does not allow gamete or embryo donation to avoid unrelated third party involvement in the procreation of a child.

Austrian Flag


On 1st April 2010 the European Court of Human Rights decided that the provisions of the Austrian Artificial Procreation Act (Fortpflanzungsmedizingesetz) that prohibit the use of ova and sperm from donors for IVF, the only medical techniques by which two couples claimed they could conceive children, violated their rights under article 8 of the Convention which reads the 'right to respect for private and family life'.

This judgement is of high importance, considering that in the field of medically assisted procreation legal provisions are developing quickly. 'In Denmark, France and Sweden sperm and ova donation, which were previously prohibited, are now allowed since the new legal provisions in 2006, 2004 and 2006 respectively' elucidates the judgement.



3. ESHRE campus and educational activities 

Due to the travel disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud the workshop 'Array technologies to apprehend developmental competence and endometrial receptivity: limits and possibilities' organised by the Task Force Basic Reproductive Science had to be postponed. The campus activity will now take place on 6 December in Brussels, Belgium.



4. ESHRE news


Other ESHRE news


20 years of PGD to be reviewed in Rome post-congress course

ESHRE’s PGD Consortium and SIG Reproductive Genetics are organising a post-congress course to celebrate 20 years of PGD. The event will take place on 1st July in Rome. 


You will hear the latest research on PGD from different perspectives:

o The history of PGD
o What is reality and what is not?
o The patient’s perspective (includes talks by two families who have benefitted from PGD and ‘saviour sibling’ HLA matching)
o The ethical view on PGD with the panel discussion ‘Is GATTACA almost here?’
o Follow up of PGD babies

More information on this event can be found here.


Our Journals


Human Reproduction

Editor’s choice May 2010


Puumala, S.E., et al., Infant leukaemia and parental infertility or its treatment: a Children's Oncology Group report

Related news: No link between infertility, rare infant cancer: study


Molecular Human Reproduction MHU_16_1


New Research Horizon Reviews

Munro, S.K., et al., Epigenetic regulation of endometrium during the menstrual cycle

Catalano, R.D., et al., Prokineticins: novel mediators of inflammatory and contractile pathways at parturition?



Human Reproduction Update HRU_16_1


The ESHRE Capri Workshop Group, Bone fractures after menopause
Youssef, M A F M., et al., Can dopamine agonists reduce the incidence and severity of OHSS in IVF/ICSI treatment cycles? A systematic review and meta-analysis



You can find more news and articles in our Press Room and in our Journals.



5. News in reproductive medicine  newspapers


Initiative to improve scientific papers 
The international network EQUATOR (Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research) provides resources and training related to health research reporting.

Originally set up to improve the quality of scientific publications, the network also holds a database of any relevant guidelines which can be accessed on its website

A recent review of 81 reporting guidelines found their development was often inadequate.

In the journal PLoS Medicine Canadian scientists propose a system on how to develop reporting guidelines. 


Research breakthroughs in ovarian cancer

Due to the 101 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) we saw a surge in articles related to cancers in the female reproductive system this month. Groundbreaking research results were presented on ovarian cancer in particular.

American scientists discovered that the number of copies of genes associated with apoptosis may signal whether a patient will respond to therapy. In those patients that responded well these genes and the 5p chromosome region were amplified. Read more > During the same meeting scientists from the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University showed that a combination of female age and urinary biomarkers (NGAL, MMP2 and MMP9-dimer) could predict ovarian cancer with a 95% probability. Urinary MMPs have been used as independent disease predictors also for breast cancer. Read more >

Another potential biomarker for type I ovarian cancer could be the Pax2 gene, which controls cell growth and may be used to differ between low-grade and high-grade tumours. Pax2 is highly expressed in (low-grade) type I ovarian cancer and rarely expressed in type II. Type II tumours are characterised by high genetic instability and high frequency of TP53 mutations, scientists at the AACR meeting report.

Cancer Research UK recently published their results on TP53 gene activity in the Journal of Pathology. They found that the presence/absence and defects of this gene do affect survival and treatment of aggressive forms of ovarian cancer. These results also show for the first time that these types of aggressive ovarian cancer have the highest known rate of TP53 mutations of any solid tumour.

The University of Edinburgh reported that patients with hereditary ovarian cancer (where tumours are caused by bad genes) are more prone to develop secondary tumours in liver or spleen compared to non-hereditary forms of this cancer where tumours tend to remain within the lining of the abdomen and pelvis. Hence patients with the former type of cancer should be tested for the faulty genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Read more >


In another study Austrian researchers looked at the AD5-10 antibody which usually weakens the cancer's cells resistance. The antibody helped reduce the resistance of cancer cells to the TRAIL protein which causes these cells to commit suicide. 'We were able to show in both cell cultures and animal models that TRAIL resistant ovarian cancer tumour cells become sensitive to TRAIL again if TRAIL and AD5-10 are both present at the same time,' said Michael Krainer from the University of Vienna. Read more >


Meanwhile the experimental drug Olaparib that blocks the cell repair enzyme PARP showed promising results in early-stage clinical tests. The drug led to a shrinking or stabilisation of tumours in half the patients with the hereditary form of ovarian cancer. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Randomised trials are now planned to present results later this year.


In Germany a third gene (apart from the well known BRCA1 and BRCA2) has been identified in connection with breast and ovarian cancer. As the authors report in Nature Genetics, the high-risk conferring gene RAD51C is like the other two, essential for DNA repair. The risk for breast cancer is 60-80% and for ovarian cancer 20-40% with a mutation of this gene. However Prof. Meindl explained: 'the now known genes that predispose women to breast and/or ovarian cancer only explain 60% of the high-risk families.'


We all know stress can make you sick, but it can make you even sicker. The stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine may contribute to tumour progression in ovarian cancer as reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. 'These findings imply that the neuroendocrine macroenvironment may play a significant role in shaping cellular activity in the tumour microenvironment in ways that ultimately facilitate cancer progression,' the authors write.


Finally a study from the US uncovered that early tumours and precancerous lesions may arise in inclusion cysts with inclusion cysts having an increased expression of genes that control cell division and chromosome movement. Read more >


Male infertility research on the rise ESHRE sperm

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most prevalent complications in men, often attributed to psychological issues; scientists are now saying it could be inherited instead. Men with ED were found to have an abnormal gene that controls the release of dopamine. Men with a different form of the dopamine transporter gene DAT1 were more likely to suffer from ED. Read more >  Meanwhile the drug Priligy is available in different European countries. It works by altering levels of serotonin in the brain to allow for more control over ejaculation. Read more >

At the European Congress of Endocrinology Italian researchers presented that men with ED and low testosterone have a higher than normal risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. However, the scientists also say that at this stage they don't know whether low testosterone levels are the cause or the consequence of this higher risk. Patients with ED and low testosterone are up to 7 times more likely to die from a major cardiac event compared to men with ED and low testosterone level. Read more > 

75 % of men with diabetes will develop some kind of ED. In a study published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics Mark Chance and colleagues identified 57 proteins in penile tissue of diabetic rats. Further, collagen proteins responsible for strength and stiffness were down-regulated and proteins that transport sex hormones and responsible for apoptosis were up-regulated.

What makes a man a man? A study in Neuron reports on the masculinisation of the brain. American researchers showed that on the day they are born, male mice experience a surge in testosterone which however may be converted to oestrogen due to a lack of testosterone receptors. 'Masculinisation of neural pathways in response to the testosterone surge at birth proceeds primarily under the control of oestrogen,' they conclude.


The Independent featured an article this month on 'Why levels of sperm in men are falling?' reporting that scientists are closing in on the critical window of foetal development that may determine a man's fertility. The article summarised the reasons why researchers increasingly believe that a mother's environment while pregnant may be more important than the man's lifestyle itself to determine a man's fertility status. On the other hand, American researchers have for the first time shown a direct link of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and male fertility. Read more >


Two independent groups of researchers discovered distinct roles for two proteins in the family of proteins PLA2s which are essential for mice sperm function and fertility. A summary of their results can be found here



More news can be found in our PRESS ROOM or you can subscribe to our RSS feed for professionals in the field of reproductive science and medicine.



6. ESHRE calendar 



The management of infertility – training workshop for junior doctors, paramedics and embryologists

(organised by the SIG Reproductive Endocrinology, SIG Embryology and the Paramedical Group) 

26-27 May 2010, Kiev, Ukraine


Preimplantation genetic diagnosis

(organised by the SIG Reproductive Genetics)

1 July 2010, Rome, Italy


EIM 10 years’ celebration meeting - more information will follow

(organised by the EIM)

11 September 2010, Munich, Germany


Healthy start – The determinants of a successful pregnancy

(organised by the SIG Reproductive Surgery, SIG Early Pregnancy, SIG Reproductive Endocrinology)

24-25 September 2010, Dubrovnik, Croatia


Basic training workshop for paramedics working in reproductive health - more information will follow

(organised by the Paramedical Group)

6-8 October, 2010, Valencia, Spain


Female and male surgery in human reproductive medicine

(organised by the SIG Reproductive Surgery and the SIG Andrology)

8-9 October 2010, Treviso, Italy


Forgotten knowledge about gamete physiology and its impact on embryo quality -more information will follow

(organised by the SIG Embryology)

9-10 October, Lisbon, Portugal



More information on all workshops is available in our Calendar.


Mark your calendar for our 26th Annual Meeting / Rome, Italy / 27 to 30 June 2010