How to talk to your patients about PGT – current views – Professor Darren K. Griffin, University of Kent, UK

The most prominent and controversial use for preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is for aneuploidy testing of oocytes and embryos (PGT-A). PGT-A serves a threefold purpose. First, it tests for chromosomal aneuploidies that can lead to the birth of babies with chromosomal copy number syndromes (e.g. Down Syndrome—trisomy 21). Second, it has the potential to reduce miscarriage rates, as approximately half of all first trimester abortions are chromosomally abnormal. Finally, it is often prescribed with the intention of improving IVF outcomes, e.g. by reducing time to pregnancy.

Despite the obvious mechanistic rationale for PGT-A, conflicting reports in the scientific and popular press has meant that it has remained controversial since its inception in the mid-1990s. The issue of chromosomal moscaicism is central to the discussion, in particular, what to do when a lab returns a mosaic result. By the end of this talk, you will be aware of
• A brief history of PGT-A.
• The mechanistic basis of aneuploidy and mosaicism.
• The evidence base of PGT-A.
• The basis of the ongoing argument.
• Practical ways forwards for patients and clinics

Professor Darren Griffin received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Science degrees from the University of Manchester and his PhD from University College London. After postdoctoral stints at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Cambridge he landed his first academic post at Brunel University, before settling at the University of Kent, where he’s been for the last 15+ years. He has worked under the mentorship of Professors Joy Delhanty, Christine Harrison, Terry Hassold, Alan Handyside and Malcolm Ferguson-Smith.

He is President of the International Chromosome and Genome Society and a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. He sits on the faculty of CoGen (ontroversies in genetics) and has previously sat on the board of the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis International Society (PGDIS), organising its annual meeting in 2014.

Darren is a world leader in cytogenetics. He performed the first successful cytogenetic PGD (using X and Y FISH probes for sexing) and, more recently, played a significant role in the development of Karyomapping, an approach he now applies to cattle. In a 30+ year scientific research career he has co-authored over 200 scientific publications, mainly on the cytogenetics of reproduction and evolution, most recently providing insight into the karyotypes of dinosaurs.
He is a prolific science communicator, making every effort to make scientific research publicly accessible (both his own and others) and is an enthusiastic proponent for the benefits of interdisciplinary research endeavour. He has supervised over 35 PhD students to completion and his work appears consistently in the national and international news. He currently runs a vibrant research lab of about 20 people (including a programme of externally supervised students) and maintains commercial interests in the outcomes of research findings, liaising with companies in the field.

Moving on post unsuccessful fertility treatment – how can we meet patients’ needs? – Dr Sofia Gameiro, Cardiff Fertility Studies, Cardiff University, UK

This talk will enable delegates to:
• Understand the needs of patients who undergo unsuccessful fertility treatment.
• Discuss how clinics can tailor support to meet these patients’ needs and preferences.

Dr Sofia Gameiro is a senior lecturer in health psychology at Cardiff University. Her work aims to support people in all steps of their (in)fertility journey. She conducts research and publishes in the best peer-review journals on the topic, trains healthcare professionals worldwide and participates in multiple events to raise awareness about the emotional aspects of reproductive medicine. She chaired the first European evident-based guidelines for delivering patient psychosocial care at fertility clinics, has been on the editorial boards of Human Reproduction and Fertility and Sterility, and coordinated the Psychology and Counselling special interest group of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Experiences of travelling abroad for egg donation – implications for care – Professor Nicky Hudson, DeMontfort University, UK 

This talk aims to:
• Improve your understanding of the decision-making of patients seeking egg donation abroad.
• Improve your understanding of patient experiences of egg donation treatment.
• Allow you to consider ways to improve care of egg donation patients.

Professor Nicky Hudson is Professor of Medical Sociology and she leads the Centre for Reproduction Research, an interdisciplinary centre of expertise dedicated to the production of scholarship on the social, cultural and political aspects of human reproduction based at De Montfort University. Nicky uses sociological theories to understand people’s experiences of their reproductive health, the development and use of a range of reproductive technologies, and the social contexts in which they exist. Her work is characterised by a strong commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and social translation. Her current work explores the social, political, economic and moral configuration of egg donation in Europe and is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council.

Role of ultrasound in subfertility and assisted conception – Dr Ippokratis Sarris, King’s Fertility, UK