Kersti Lundin, chairwoman of the ESHRE, has opened the academic year of the 18th Master's Degree in Assisted Reproduction run by Women’s Health Dexeus and the UAB
Last Monday, Women’s Health Dexeus celebrated the opening of the 18th edition of the Master's Degree in Reproduction Biology and Human Assisted Reproduction Techniques conducted in partnership with the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). The event, which was held at the Dexeus Auditorium, was attended by Dr. Kersti Lundin, Chairwoman of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), who delivered the keynote address entitled “Physiological aspects of embryo selection”.
Thanks to the work of professionals like Dr. Lundin, Sweden, her country now has the longest history of performing elective single-embryo transfer (eSET), a technique which has led to a reduction in multiple pregnancies after assisted reproduction. "At about 5-6%, Sweden has the lowest rate of multiple pregnancy worldwide, despite the fact that we have one of the highest birth rates in Europe", said Dr. Lundin, adding: "The reasons are several: the educational effort dedicated to telling patients about the benefits of implanting only one embryo, a public health system which covers several cycles of assisted reproduction, and a clinical environment in which we are constantly learning and improving".
Addressing the future Master's students, Dr. Lundin also reflected: ""For the future of assisted reproduction, I envision a friendlier patient approach with milder hormonal stimulation, fewer examinations and more room for participation. Patients want to be more involved and have a greater say in decision making".
The event was attended by Josep Santaló and Francesca Vidal, members of the Cell Biology Unit of the UAB and Lluís Tort, Vicerector of Strategic Projects and Planning of the UAB as well as Montse Boada, Director of the Assisted Reproduction Laboratory at Women’s Health Dexeus and Anna Veiga, Scientific Director (R&D) of the Department of Biology at Women’s Health Dexeus, who was in charge of closing the event.
A Master's course which is coming of age
This year, the Master's in Reproductive Biology and Human Assisted Reproduction Techniques is celebrating its 18th edition with new developments in its international vocation, but with the same goal that prompted its inception: to fill a gap in a training environment where there were no regulated courses providing basic and applied training on infertility and Human Assisted Reproduction Techniques.
Significant experimental developments in assisted reproduction techniques (ART) in recent years have increasingly highlighted the need to design specific training programmes for future professionals in this field, and the UAB and Women’s Health Dexeus have joined forces to fulfil this role.
And so it was that in 1997, the Master's was born as the result of an initiative of the Biology Unit of the Reproductive Medicine Division of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Health of Women’s Health Dexeus, in partnership with the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the UAB, who are still teaching the course to this day.
In its early editions, the Master's lasted two academic years, with only five students enrolled per promotion. In the academic year 2007-2008, the Master's grew to accommodate 10 students per edition. A new International Master's was launched last year in which students can combine their training in Barcelona with work placements in a partner site abroad, which allows them to follow the same training programme while broadening their horizons and discovering another site. So far, the option of this International Master's has been implemented in partnership with two prestigious ART centres in Brazil and Argentina, but there are plans to add to the number of partner sites, so as to gradually increase the number of places available internationally.
Moreover, since 2011, Women’s Health Dexeus has offered a Postgraduate Diploma in Updates on Human Assisted Reproduction Techniques which is run jointly with the UAB and welcomes different students from the UAB and Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) for work placements.