The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) just had it’s annual meeting here in Vancouver. Many people attended virtual and many in person. It felt odd to be in-person at a meeting but I think after 18 months of social isolation, being in a room of 50 people feels naughty. It feels like you are doing something dangerous like sneaking out of the house as a teenager.
We had to show proof of vaccination so there is some comfort in that, I suppose. Like sneaking out of the house, but bringing your ID, phone and enough cash to get a cab home.
Dr. Jason Hitkari was the president this past year. He was terrific at leading the organization through the COVID storm. At the meeting there was talk about COVID: no impact on fertility, some impact on clinic flow/ease for patients given the limitations on “non-essential” visitors to clinics, major impacts on our overall health care system.
There were talks on Artificial Intelligence. These sorts of presentations give us a glimpse into the future of patient diagnostics, IVF embryo selection, patient education on treatment prognosis, etc. but I’m always looking for the talks that I can take back to the clinic that day and improve care. AI will no doubt change our practice for the better but it will likely take a few years to be fully realized. We currently are using AI to present live birth rates for our egg freezing patients (Violet Reports).
There were some talks that affirmed the value of endometrial testing prior to a frozen embryo transfer. I always enjoy the research on environmental exposures and egg/sperm health (no surprise: BPA and bisphenol exposure is bad). Our new physician, Dr. Cho presented a study examining live birth rates in women with repeated miscarriages (spoiler: they do better than the average IVF patient). Our Dr. Nakhuda spoke about IVF trigger medications – when to use which trigger.
The best part of the meeting was learning in one of my favorite formats: from humans, in person, who lecture and then generate a discussion on the topic.
Looking forward to more similar learning experiences as we get a handle on COVID and re-open the world. Vaccination is getting us there.
Dr. Beth Taylor MD, FRCSC
Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
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