AR&D Travel Grant Reports 2017


Rik van Eekelen


Department: Centre for Reproductive Medicine
Promotor: Prof. dr. Repping, Dr. ir. Van Wely
Date of visit: 18-03-2018 till 01-04-2018
Type of travel grant: Work visit

I travelled to Aberdeen, Scotland, to conduct research in the field of (sub-)fertility. 1 out of 8 couples who wish to conceive, fail to do so within their first year of trying after which they are eligible for a fertility workup in a fertility centre. In approximately 50% of subfertile couples, no barrier for natural conception can be found. These couples are then diagnosed with ‘unexplained subfertility’, which is essentially an idiopathic ‘non’-diagnosis. In vitro fertilisation (IVF), initially meant for females with blocked fallopian tubes, is now used for a much wider range of diagnoses including unexplained subfertility. However, the effectiveness of IVF for unexplained subfertile couples has never been assessed in an appropriate, randomised controlled trial. Despite that fact, both clinicians and patients consider IVF in the present day and age to be an effective treatment for all subfertile patients. Conducting a trial to address this question is virtually impossible since both the clinicians responsible for recruiting and the couples giving their consent, prefer IVF over trying to conceive for a longer period of time, which known as expectant management.

I had an excellent time on this trip and I was very grateful for being invited by my hosts Prof. Bhattacharya and Dr. McLernon to dinner and lunch on multiple occasions. In addition, I am content with the fact that we managed to do all the work that we envisioned within the time frame of two weeks, thanks to Dr. McLernon who spent so much time preparing for my visit by conducting all of the admin work, getting all the appropriate rights, approvals and the datasets in place in the Grampian Safe Haven, the secured database in Aberdeen.

To close, I would like to thank you, Amsterdam Reproduction and Development, for funding this trip.