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Leading Lights 2012

Warwick Medical School Inaugural Lecture Series

Professor Geraldine Hartshorne

Geraldine Hartshorne

Date: 29 June 2012

Location: Clinical Sciences Building Lecture Theatre, UHCW

Time: Welcome reception starting at 11:45. The lecture will start at 12:15

RSVP: Register Here

Female reproductive ageing – not an old wives’ tale

Around 1 in 60 UK babies is now conceived in a laboratory. Since 1969, when human embryos were first fertilised in vitro, much has been learnt about early human development. Yet many enigmas remain that limit the success of IVF treatment. In particular, female age-related deterioration of oocyte quantity and quality underlies many reproductive problems.

A large but finite population of oocytes is formed in the ovary before birth, from which a tiny proportion will eventually be selected for ovulation. No medical intervention yet available can identify competent oocytes or slow their usage, so female fertility declines irrevocably from the mid-thirties, accelerating rapidly beyond age 37. This biological clock is at odds with current societal expectations and aspirations of women in developed societies.

Professor Hartshorne's lecture will consider female reproductive ageing as it relates to oocyte and embryo quality, fertility and assisted conception. She will also pay tribute to friends and colleagues, mentors, advisors and patients who have influenced me in this ever-challenging field.