Conference: the robust and responsive embryo

“You are invited to attend the Progress Educational Trust annual conferenceTHE BEST POSSIBLE START IN LIFE: THE ROBUST AND RESPONSIVE EMBRYO‘, taking place at London’s Institute of Child Health from 9.30am to 5pm on Wednesday 23 November 2011

Until the 1978 birth of Louise Brown, the first person to be born following IVF, there was considerable scepticism not only about whether fertilisation could occur in vitro, but also about whether an embryo could successfully be cultured in the laboratory before being transferred to the mother’s uterus. That the embryo can survive in a synthetic culture system testifies to a remarkable robustness. But paradoxically, while embryos are robust they are also responsive. Advances in fields including embryology, genetics and now epigenetics continue to reveal myriad ways in which the circumstances of the embryo’s early development influence not only the likelihood of successful pregnancy and birth, but also the development and health of the resulting child.

This conference will explore, for the benefit of the lay public and professionals alike, contrasting views of how best to assure the success of assisted conception and the health of the embryo, in the context of the latter’s robustness and responsiveness. In the Progress Educational Trust tradition, following introductory presentations, the bulk of each session’s running time will be devoted to discussion with input from the audience.

Speakers and chairs include DR VIRGINIA BOLTON (Consultant Embryologist at at Guy’s Hospital), PROFESSOR DANIEL BRISON (Scientific Director of Reproductive Medicine at St Mary’s Hospital), JANE DENTON (Director of the Multiple Births Foundation), DR SIMON FISHEL (Managing Director of CARE Fertility), PROFESSOR ALAN HANDYSIDE (Consultant in Preimplantation Genetics and Screening at the London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics Centre), MARILYN MONK (Emeritus Professor of Molecular Embryology at the Institute of Child Health), LUCIANO NARDO (Director of GyneHealth, Northwest Fertility and Conceive International), HELEN PICTON (Professor of Reproduction and Early Development at the University of Leeds), GUDRUN MOORE (Professor of Clinical and Molecular Genetics at the Institute of Child Health), ANTHONY RUTHERFORD (Chair of the British Fertility Society), PROFESSOR ANDRÉ VAN STEIRTEGHEM (Editor-in-Chief of the journal Human Reproduction), ZOE WILLIAMS (columnist at the Guardian newspaper), and DR MAUREEN WOOD (Research Embryologist at the University of Aberdeen).”

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