The International IVF Initiative - i3

Session 107: Highlights of the 13th Biennial Alpha Congress

International IVF Initiative

Session 107: Highlights of the 13th Biennial Alpha Congress

Tuesday, 6th Dec 2022, 3pm EST LIVE, 8pm UK, 9pm CET


Description: International IVF Initiative(I3)- Online Session 107: HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 13TH BIENNIAL ALPHA CONGRESS
Tuesday, 6th Dec 2022, 3pm EST LIVE, 8pm UK, 9pm CET [104 mins]
Course outline/synopsis:

The webinar focussed on the International Society responsible for many IVF consensus publications, IVF meetings and books on clinical embryology, Alpha- scientists in reproductive medicine. It highlighted its legacy, future work in the ART community and selected talks and awarded work presented at this year’s Alpha Conference in Seville.
Former President, Sharon Mortimer, gave an introduction to the history of Society, its initiative and its latest scientific work: ESHRE and Alpha Scientists in Reproductive Medicine have recently joined forces and initiated the project to update the Istanbul consensus recommendations on oocyte and embryo morphology assessment.
The panel of Alpha member chaired by Alpha committee members Mina Alikani ( current president) Alison Campbell (deputy president) , Sharon Mortimer, Dean Morbeck and Christophe Blockeel discussed and engaged in insightful communication with three winners of scientific work that was selected from the 2022 program.

Questions from the audience covered all aspects of the three talks.

Alessandra Alteri, the Winner of the Best Free Communication presented "The effect of laser assisted hatching on vitrified-warmed blastocysts: a multicentric randomized controlled trial". She described methods of assisted hatching with a review on papers and the “add on” debate with data from her multicentric prospective comparative study concluding that there was no significant difference between assisted-hatching group and control group in terms of live birth rate, also stratifying by age when using vitrified-warmed blastocysts.
Ainhoa Larreategui (Winner of the Best Poster Presentation) gave an impressive talk with unique imagery of cellular activity in her talk "Centrosome failure and peri-centrosome fragmentation in the first cell division of non-rodent mammalian zygotes" presented cleavage anomalies and discussed what makes the first zygotic division more error prone. Using Chromatin and microtubule staining she illustrated that the lack of centrosome activity does not prevent the formation of the mitotic spindle but worsens chromosome clustering; Non-engagement of centrosomes to the mitotic spindle increases the possibility of chromosome segregation errors; the position of centrosomes and their fragmentation give rise to direct cleavage events.
Anja Pinborg, awarded the most critically important invited lecture gave an in depth review of "FET offspring health", concluding after highlighting many studies including her regions extensive data collection policy that, although there is a higher risk of large for gestational age, macrosomia in preeclampsia and post-partum haemorrhage after FET and programmed FET compared with fresh ET or natural cycle FET, there is a similar academic performance at school in children born after FET and fresh-ET and that growth and cardiovascular health in children born after FET is reassuring.

Closing Remarks were by Mina Alikani and Dean Morbeck who introduced the “Alpha Forum”, a new way for embryologist to engage in scientific conversation and peer led education via a new electronic portal (Forum).


Mina Alikani, Alison Campbell, Sharon Mortimer, Dean Morbeck and Christophe Blockeel

Introduction by Sharon Mortimer

Alessandra Alteri – Winner Best Free Communication
"The effect of laser assisted hatching on vitrified-warmed blastocysts: a multicentric randomized controlled trial"

Ainhoa Larreategui – Winner Best Poster Presentation
"Centrosome failure and peri-centrosome fragmentation in the first cell division of non-rodent mammalian zygotes"

Anja Pinborg – Most critically important invited lecture
"FET offspring health"

Closing Remarks by Mina Alikani and Dean Morbeck introducing the Alpha Forum!

Panel discussion and Q and A.



Mina is a Clinical Embryologist, certified as a High Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director (HCLD) and Clinical Consultant (CC) by the American Board of Bioanalysis. She obtained her PhD in 2006 from Monash University under the mentorship of Professors Alan Trounson and Steen Willadsen. During her 35+ year career, she has focused on improving IVF laboratory performance and outcomes via meticulous practice, detailed observation, embracing of new and bold technologies, and teaching and training of others to do the same.
Mina has lectured worldwide on ART topics and has authored and co-authored more than 80 articles and book chapters on laboratory aspects of assisted reproduction. She is an editor of RBMO and currently the President of Alpha Scientists in Reproductive Medicine. She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of TMRW Life Sciences.



Dr Alison Campbell is the Chief Scientific Officer at CARE Fertility, an expanding and leading clinical group consisting of 14 embryology laboratories and around 150 Scientists, in the UK and Ireland. Alison has over 25 years experience in the field in Reproductive Medicine and has played a key role in establishing and integrating new laboratories, driving standards and best practice, and leading scientific research and development across the CARE group. Alison is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, an Associate Editor of Human Reproduction, a Section Editor of RBM Online and a member of the Alpha Scientists in Assisted Reproduction Executive Board. Alison has recently established a Masters degree course in clinical embryology in partnership with Liverpool John Moore’s University


Dr. Sharon Mortimer graduated with a BSc (Hons) from the University of Newcastle, and a PhD from the University of Sydney. She became a clinical embryologist in 1985, and later a consultant in ART, involved in the development, design, and improvement of assisted conception programs. She has been a CFAS-certified ART Laboratory Scientific Director since 2013, and became a Certified Organizational Coach in 2022.
Sharon co-authored Quality and Risk Management in the IVF Laboratory (Cambridge University Press, 2005, and 2015 (2nd edition)), as well as more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and eight international professional consensus guidelines. She is currently the Scientific Director of the Fertility Laboratory in St Johns, Newfoundland, an Adjunct Professor in REI at the University of British Columbia, and the Past President of Alpha Scientists in Reproductive Medicine.


Dr. Morbeck a freelance consultant based in the US and NZ and an adjunct associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Monash University. He brings a data-driven discipline to help clinics identify quality improvement opportunities. In addition, Dr. Morbeck has a passion for clinically-relevant translational science and education - bringing innovative and insightful content to all areas of fertility care. He has held several leadership positions, including Chief Scientific Officer for Kindbody, Scientific Director at Fertility Associates New Zealand and Sunfert International Fertility Centre, Malaysian and Associate Professor at the Mayo Clinic in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. He obtained his Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin, his MS and PhD from North Carolina State University and his MBA from Augsburg College. His research has focussed on quality in the laboratory, from culture media, protein and oil, and the use of KPIs to the promising integration of artificial intelligence. He has a keen interest in improving the patient experience through leveraging technology to enhance the delivery of fertility care.


Alessandra Alteri obtained her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology at “Sapienza”- University of Rome. She started her career as an embryologist in 2011 at FertiClinic-Villa Margherita in Rome, and she has been working at IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan since 2015. She is an ESHRE-certified Senior Embryologist. In 2017, she was elected Junior Deputy of The Special Interest Group on Safety and Quality in ART (SQART) of ESHRE, and she is currently Deputy of the ESHRE SQART. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Notify Library. Since 2021, she has been adjunct Professor of Biology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan. She has authored over 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts concerning embryology, safety, and quality management.
Current areas of interest include quality and risk management in the IVF laboratory, with particular attention to patient and offspring safety and errors prevention strategies.


Ainhoa Larreategui is a biochemist graduated at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and specialized in Assisted Reproduction Technology at the University of Nottingham. She is now a third year doctoral student under Prof. dr. Tom Stout and Prof. dr. Geert Kops at the University of Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute.


Her research aims to provide insight into the leading cause of pregnancy loss and focuses on the different mechanisms involved in chromosome missegregation during mammalian oocyte and embryo development. To this end, her studies are based on monitoring meiotic and mitotic divisions of bovine oocytes and embryos. On a narrower scope, Ainhoa´s research explores the nucleation of microtubules and the interaction between these and chromosomes during cell division.


Anja Pinborg is medical doctor and expert in clinical reproductive medicine and was appointed professor at University of Copenhagen in 2013. Since 2018 she has been professor and medical director at the Fertility Department at Rigshospitalet. She has published 270 original papers and authored nine book-chapters and has an H-index of 52 (Scopus), 51 (Web of Science) and 61 (google scholar). She is past member of ESHRE EXCO (2017-2021) and of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (2015-2021) and former president of Nordic Fertility Society (2011-2015).

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