Synopsis: On Tuesday, January 30th, a webinar titled "Extreme IVF" took place, focusing on the impact of extreme conditions on fertility and fertility treatments, such as high-level sports, high altitudes, low temperatures, and extreme occupational demands. Discussions included gym culture, steroid use, and fertility consequences, as well as the female athlete triad and repercussions of extreme activities on both genders. Moderators Jen Barcroft, Lyndon Miles, and Staci Lyn Wyatt led the session, with panelists Pippa Woolven and Felicity Devey contributing expertise.
Lyndon Miles, a seasoned IVF expert with 30 years of experience, was among the distinguished moderators, along with Staci Lyn Wyatt, a senior embryologist. Dr. Jen Barcroft, an Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialist deeply involved in Reproductive Medicine, also participated, alongside Felicity Devey, a Registered Dietitian and Sport & Exercise Nutritionist. Pippa Woolven, a former GB athlete and Positive Psychology Coach, shared insights from her work with Project RED-S.
Presenters included Shaun Rogers, Dr. Meurig T. Gallagher, and Dr. Ifigeneia Giannopoulou, who discussed various aspects of fertility and extreme conditions. Experienced Embryologist Shaun Rogers drew on his extensive experience in male factor infertility issues and talked about "Risky Occupations, tough conditions, and endurance activities”, while Dr. Gallagher's expertise contributed to understanding male infertility and showcased a questionnaire about gym culture and opinions on fertility from gym goers in "Gym lifestyle factors and male reproductive health: a study into young adult usage and perceptions". Dr. Giannopoulou's, a Senior Lecturer of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Brighton, research focused on the effects of exercise and nutrition on hormonal and metabolic disturbances in her talk “"Relative Energy Deficiency in sports (RED-S), hormonal disturbances and reproductive issues"
The webinar concluded with a productive Q&A session, providing further insights into the intersection of fertility and sports science.
Moderators: Dr. Jen Barcroft, Lyndon Miles, Staci Lyn Wyatt
“Gym lifestyle factors and male reproductive health: a study into young adult usage and perceptions” Dr. Meurig T. Gallagher
“Relative Energy Deficiency in sports (RED-S), hormonal disturbances and reproductive issues” Dr. Ifigeneia Giannopoulou
Q and A
Dr. Jen Barcroft
Dr Jen Barcroft is an Obstetrics and Gynaecology doctor with a specialist interest in Reproductive Medicine within a London Teaching Hospital. She is also part of the clinical team at Hertility Health.
Alongside her clinical work, she is doing a PhD looking at the application of machine learning within gynaecology diagnostics at Imperial College London.
She is passionate about sport and loves to escape to the hills on her bike. She has recently completed the Mallorca 312 and the Marmotte Granfondo Alpes.
Lyndon has worked in this field for 30 years. He has extensive experience from working in six IVF clinics, including six years as Senior Embryologist and Harvard Instructor at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Lyndon served for 5 years as a member of the Association of Clinical Embryologists Training and Examination Committee acting at a national level as an assessor for new members of the clinical embryology profession. Lyndon is a regular speaker at conferences nationally and internationally. While working in the USA in 2005 he ran his first marathon. Now in 2024 he has ran over 30 marathons, 6 Ironman races, ultra marathons, dozens of triathlons and hundreds of half marathons. .
Staci Lyn Wyatt
Staci lyn Wyatt is a senior embryologist with over twenty years of experience in the field. She is also a consultant assisting in sales, development and implementation for Fertility EHR, with an avid interest in fitness and wellness.
Pippa Woolven is a former GB athlete, an English Schools (x2) and British Universities Champion (x4), Commonwealth Games finalist, and now a Positive Psychology Coach (MSc). Over a decade of competing in international athletics while studying in the UK and on a scholarship in Florida, USA, Pippa experienced her fair share of extremes, including RED-S. Throughout her own recovery process, she was struck by how theoretically basic, yet practically challenging, the medical and nutritional advice was to apply. All she had wished for was another athlete to talk to—someone who had been there and come through the other side. So, after overcoming her own challenges, she began mentoring others with a view to providing the peer advice that can compliment clinical support within a multidisciplinary team.
She completed a MSc in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology and now works with athletes of all ages, genders, sports and abilities, alongside parents, coaches, friends and partners of athletes experiencing RED-S, while bringing up her baby boy, AJ. Project Red-s founder. https://red-s.com/ .
Felicity started her Dietetics training in 2007, obtaining a BSc (hons) and HCPC Registration leading to various roles as a Dietitian for the NHS. In 2012 she completed an MSc in Applied Sports Nutrition with distinction kick starting a career as a registered Sport & Exercise Nutritionist (SENR) that has has seen her travel across Europe and supporting athletes at pinnacle events such as Glasgow 2014, Baku European Games 2015, Gold Coast 2018 and in 2021 to Tokyo as part of the Paralympics GB delegation. Alongside her passion for Sports Nutrition Felicity has built her strategic leadership and management experience. Her current role as the People & Services Lead for the Sport Wales Institute combines her passion for people and performance sport to ultimately enable sport in Wales to thrive.
Shaun has worked in all areas of IVF since 1992. He starting his Reproductive care in dedicated Male Factor Infertility clinics, moving on to Embryology for 25 years Recently he left day to day Laboratory Management returning to a focus on Men's Health issues.
Shaun is an experienced embryologist with skills gained in Private, University and NHS facilities. Patient care is his principal aim, giving advice in; Male reproductive health, General IVF, Embryo biopsy, Treatment options in the UK and abroad.
Shaun is UK and Ireland Clinical Applications Scientist for Genea, Clinical Operations Director for Mojo Fertility and Clinical Scientist support for LogixX Pharma, Babyinc and Andrology Solutions. He has recently founded the IVF logistics and consultancy companies Lab Dynamics and Embryology Solutions. In his spare time he is also a visiting researcher at the University of Kent. .
Dr. Meurig T. Gallagher
Meurig is an Assistant Professor at the University of Birmingham, based in the Medical School’s Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR), and is jointly appointed across IMSR, Mathematics, and Computer Science. In addition to this role, Meurig is Deputy-Director of ChRS and is the HFEA Research Personal Responsible for the University of Birmingham (Centre 0209). The main focus of Meurig’s research revolves around the creation and development of the package FAST (Flagellar Analysis and Sperm Tracking, www.flagellarcapture.com), a tool that enables rapid, affordable analysis of the moving flagellum of the sperm cell. FAST is deployed with international clinical collaborators to understand key questions surrounding the role sperm play in the outcomes of fertility treatment, as well as to understand more general aspects of sperm function across species.
Dr. Ifigeneia Giannopoulou
Ifigeneia (Fenia) is a Senior Lecturer of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Brighton. Fenia comes from a diverse background of educational and research experiences, having studied and worked as an academic both in Europe and America in institutions such as Syracuse University in America, Strathclyde University in Glasgow, and University of Athens in Greece.
Fenia’s research interests lie in the area of clinical exercise physiology, nutrition and health. Her research is focused on the effects of exercise and diet on health and specifically on abdominal obesity and chronic low grade inflammation and on clinical populations such as obese individuals, type 2 diabetes patients and postmenopausal women. More recently her research has focused on sport performance and nutritional aspects that affect performance, physical and mental health such as low energy availability, relative energy deficiency in sport and disordered eating in athletes with a particular focus on metabolic and hormonal dysfunctions such as amenorrhea and the Low T3 syndrome. She is also currently investigating the effects of lifestyle interventions through new innovative techniques such as mindfulness and mindful eating on mood, eating behavior, disordered eating and overall wellbeing in young adults, athletes and mental illness patients in collaboration with a global network of collaborators in Europe and Australia.
Fenia has research publications in well-known research journals such as Metabolism, Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Nutrition and has been presenting her work in national and international research conferences. She is an editorial member and expert reviewer of the European Commission Horizon 2020 and Erasmus Sports Grants and various nutrition and exercise peer-reviewed journals.