ESHRE - European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology

Article Conference CoverageFrom the ESHRE 2001 Conference - Lausanne, Switzerland

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Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "Good morning, it's the third of July of 2001 and we're in Lausanne at the 17th ESHRE Conference. Next to me is Professor Hans Evers who will be the Chairman of ESHRE this afternoon. Good morning, Hans."

Professor Hans Evers: "Good morning."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "I want to discuss with you ESHRE and what ESHRE is. Could you tell us about it, but first the acronym?"

Professor Hans Evers: "ESHRE is the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. It was founded eighteen years ago by Professor Robert Edwards and Jean Cohen from Paris. It was a reaction to the fact that infertility and reproductive endocrinology were dispersed over many, many small organizations in Europe and there was a definite need for one big organization. Fortunately, because of their extreme efforts, it took off very well. At our first meeting in Bonn, Germany we had 500 participants and it grew very fast till at this moment we have over 4,000 participants at this annual meeting so we are quite glad about this. The aim of ESHRE is to stimulate research and also clinical treatment of infertility and people with problems in the field of infertility. ESHRE is also intended to stimulate basic research - developments into the discovery of follicle maturation, sperm maturation, implantation, and early pregnancy so it is about all of reproductive life from fifteen years till forty-five and even beyond."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "So it's not a society of clinicians only?"

Professor Hans Evers: "No, it's not a society of clinicians only: it's about half and half; there are 60% clinicians and 40% basic scientists. That's also the goal of not only our annual meeting but also our journals to bring together the scientists and clinicians in such a way that the clinicians can have the maximum advantage of interaction with the scientists that new discoveries reach the clinics rapidly but also in a responsible way without t much haste - that's the main issue. I would say we are inclined, especially in the western world, to introduce new treatments too fast into the clinic and that's what ESHRE wants to regulate. Evaluate something very thoroughly before you introduce it but if it is proven of benefit then don't hesitate too much."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "That means that you also need guidelines. I learned that you are talking with the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynecology to give some guidelines for further education of fertility doctors."

Professor Hans Evers: "Yes, what we would like to start together with the European board is a credentialing system of clinics for secondary teaching and training in reproductive medicine which includes visits to those centers that have asked for accreditation and also at regular intervals checking of their procedures and their protocols. This means we need guidelines so ESHRE is composed of twelve special interest groups who devote themselves to one of the aspects of reproduction. One of the main issues of those special interest groups is to write guidelines and to strive to consensus on those guidelines, and we publish them as soon as they are available on the web. We ask all our members to comment on them, to suggest changes, and once they have been on the web for a certain time they are approved and we have printed copies available for all members."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "I'm sure you will also have the guidelines online."

Professor Hans Evers: "Yes, all of them will be online because, especially in reproductive medicine, the changes are so very fast that once they are printed they are out-of-date already. We try to keep them up-to-date online but we collect them every two years in booklets to distribute among the members."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "It's a European society, does this mean that the members are all Europeans?"

Professor Hans Evers: "It started as a purely European society, the first five years we had predominantly European members, now more and more members are joining from outside Europe. Now one-third of the members are from outside Europe. In fact, our fifth biggest member country is the USA so we are gradually increasing towards the USA and Canada. We have many, many members in the Middle East and since our annual meetings have always been of high quality, I think, they attract many people not only to the meetings but also to the society. "

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "Thank you very much, Hans. I wish you a lot of luck with your presidency next year."

Professor Hans Evers: "It was a pleasure. I'm proud that I was elected and I'll be looking forward to do it."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "Thank you."

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