The scene was set on the 11th of November, when Associate Professor Michael Eisenberg presented findings from a population-based cohort study, looking at the association of paternal age with perinatal outcomes in the US between 2007 and 2016. The study showed that paternal age is associated with infant and maternal birth outcomes.

“Science is a team sport! A strength of the ReproUnion collaboration is how it brings together a complementary team from all over the world to offer unique insights related to their own country, research and clinical expertise,” said Michael Eisenberg, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Erik Sørensen from Rigshospitalets Biobank Unit presented biobanks in Denmark, including the Danish Blood Donor Study, which offers unique opportunities to identify early markers of disease after a donor develops a disease. The afternoon continued with an introduction to all five challenges in ReproUnion, including the ReproUnion Infertility Cohort and Biobank (RUn-In-CaB).

RUn-In-CaB is a collaboration between the three challenges in ReproUnion, working to improve human male fertility; optimize medically assisted reproductive treatment and prevent infertility-related morbidity.
“We submitted the protocols during the summer and have approval from the scientific ethics committees. We will now continue the hard work to build up the logistics for the biobank and plan the collection of biospecimen from 5000 couples in both Sweden and Denmark,” said Anja Pinborg, Professor at the Fertility Clinic, Rigshospitalet and leading the scientific board for challenge 2.

Medicine and social sciences meet in ReproUnion’s challenge 5, where qualitative and quantitative studies support the overall aim to increase fertility awareness, both amongst the public and health care professionals. “We have carried out a third of the interviews that will help us gain deeper knowledge about factors that influence people’s reproductive decision-making in Sweden. We expect to find out what is most important in different stages of life and how one generation affects the other,” said Maja Bodin, in a joint presentation with her post-doc colleague Kristina Mattsson. Through a series of regional and national register studies, Kristina researches whether people get the family they want and the consequences if they don’t. The studies focus on the questions ‘if disease patterns affect the outcome of ART’ and ‘if health care-seeking patterns differ between those who need ART and those who don’t’.

Moving on to basic science ReproUnion’s challenge 3 presented how the team works to secure female ovarian function with the goal to create a human ovarian organoid within a ten-year period. This includes improving the collection methods of oocytes from small antral follicles. For the first time in Denmark, the research team has clinically applied in-vitro maturation of ex-vivo collected oocytes.

“This Research Seminar underlines how ReproUnion offers the right forum to go from basic science to the clinic. It is great to see examples of the strong collaboration taking place within and between the five challenge groups and how all PIs and researchers are working hard to jointly find solutions to reproductive challenges that cross borders,” concluded Eva Hoffmann, Professor at Copenhagen University and part of the scientific board of Challenge 3 as well as the ReproUnion Executive Board.

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