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Future Fertility welcomes new advisory board members heading into 2024

The group is comprised of professionals at the forefront of reproductive medicine, artificial intelligence and global healthcare

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Future Fertility, the pioneer of AI-powered oocyte assessment, has proudly announced the expansion of its advisory board.

This distinguished group is comprised of professionals at the forefront of reproductive medicine, artificial intelligence and global healthcare. The advisory board’s members bring a wealth of expertise that spans clinical practice, embryology, scientific research, commercial strategy and AI integration.

Future Fertility held its inaugural advisory board meeting at this year’s ASRM congress in New Orleans, bringing the group together to reflect on the company’s progress in 2023 and identify areas for growth and support into 2024 and beyond.

“As a technology company that serves such a specialised area of medicine and laboratory practice, having the means to gain practical feedback, guidance and advice from industry experts will ensure our products continue to evolve in a way that meets the needs of our clients, and ultimately patients, worldwide,” says Christy Prada, CEO of Future Fertility.

“We are lucky to have such an inspiring group of leaders in their field supporting our ambitions.”

New members of Future Fertility’s advisory board include:

Sebastian Bohl – VP, Global Head of Product Planning & Portfolio Expansion, GBF Fertility at Merck Healthcare

Sebastian Bohl is an accomplished entrepreneurial leader with a diverse background that spans the pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical devices sectors. His global and in-country roles have honed expertise in commercial strategy, marketing, consulting, and business development. With a keen drive for innovation and efficiency, he consistently delivers high performance, exemplifying a commitment to refining business models and organisational structures for optimal results. Mr Bohl’s commercial expertise aligns with Future Fertility‘s ambitions for growth in 2024.

Dr Kate Devine – Medical Director and Chief Research Officer, US Fertility

Dr Kate Devine is US Fertility’s Medical Director and Chief Research Officer. As a board-certified REI (Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist), she treats patients in Washington DC and was Shady Grove’s Research Director for over a decade. In her role as CRO at US Fertility, she leads a dedicated research division, expanding medical care in the field while also overseeing a culture of medical excellence at the network of clinics.  She has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and has a special focus on endometrial receptivity and optimization of frozen transfer cycles.

Dr Kathy Miller – Chief Scientific Officer, Innovation Fertility

Dr Kathy Miller, with a deep background of combined experience in research and laboratory management, serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at Innovation Fertility and is also the Vice President of MedTech For Solutions. She has authored over 100 abstracts, papers, and chapters on her research, which focuses on advancements in blastocyst culture, pre-implantation genetics and other new technologies such as time-lapse and artificial intelligence. This focus makes her a valuable contributor to Future Fertility’s pursuit of innovation.

Dr Mitch Rosen – Fertility Physician and Director, UCSF Fertility Preservation Program

Based at the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, Dr Mitch Rosen is an expert in reproductive endocrinology and fertility, uniquely holding multiple clinical and laboratory roles. He is a fertility physician and high complexity lab director (HCLD), as well as an Associate Professor at UCSF where he teaches medical students, residents, and fellows. His commitment to medical education and research enhances the clinical and scientific depth of Future Fertility’s advisory team.

Dr Prati Sharma – Reproductive Endocrinologist, CReATe

Dr Prati Sharma, a distinguished REI at CReATe in Toronto, brings a patient-centric approach to the advisory board. Active in various medical associations across North America, her extensive training and board certifications underscore her commitment to providing exceptional patient care. Dr Sharma combines her love for research in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility with “patient-centred” clinical practice.

These new advisory board members join the following established members:

Dr Angie Beltsos – CEO Clinical and Medical Director, Kindbody

Dr Angie Beltsos is a board-certified REI and Chief Executive Physician of Kindbody, a national network of fertility clinics and fertility benefits provider in the US. She is also the founder and was CEO and CMO of Vios Fertility Institute – a network of fertility clinics. She has received numerous awards and is a popular speaker, both nationally and internationally, and a frequent media resource on the topic of infertility. Dr Beltsos is the executive chairperson for the Midwest Reproductive Symposium International and continues to educate and mentor REI doctors and students of all stages of education.

Dr Avi Goldfarb – Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Professor Goldfarb’s leadership and groundbreaking research at the intersection of AI and healthcare provides pivotal insights in shaping Future Fertility’s responsible and interpretable AI solutions.

Dr Jim Meriano – Director, Embryology Laboratory, TRIO Fertility

Dr Jim Meriano has been instrumental in shaping and advancing Future Fertility’s AI-based oocyte assessment solutions. His extensive experience as an embryologist and lab director, spanning over 30 years in the field of fertility, has significantly contributed to the company’s research and academic insights.

Dr Rita Vassena – Founder and CEO, Fecundis

Dr Rita Vassena brings more than two decades of expertise in biomedical and fertility research to Future Fertility. With a notable tenure as the Global Scientific Director at Eugin Group and two terms as an Executive Member of ESHRE, she has co-authored over 110 fertility research papers. Currently leading Fecundis, Dr Vassena’s extensive experience and leadership will enrich Future Fertility’s scientific strategy.

With this accomplished advisory board, Future Fertility looks ahead to a year of commercial growth and innovation in 2024. The diverse expertise spanning clinical, embryology, commercial strategy and research uniquely positions the company to contribute significantly to its mission of developing AI-based solutions that solve real information gaps across the fertility journey.

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Apricity Fertility launches new Freeze and Share programme

The Freeze and Share programme offers a solution for women who wish to preserve their fertility

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In response to the growing demand for affordable fertility options and the pressing need for egg donors, the UK virtual fertility clinic Apricity has launched an innovative Freeze and Share programme.

The initiative is designed to make egg freezing more accessible and cost-effective while simultaneously addressing the shortage of donor eggs in the UK.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of women choosing to freeze their eggs. According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the number of egg freezing cycles in the UK has surged by 81 per cent to 2022. Despite this growing trend, the high costs associated with the procedure—typically upwards of £5000—have made it unaffordable for many.

The Freeze and Share programme offers a solution for women who wish to preserve their fertility; by opting to share their eggs, they can substantially reduce the cost of egg freezing.

This act not only makes the procedure more affordable but also provides much longer for donor eggs for those that need them.

Addressing the egg donor shortage

The UK faces a shortage of egg donors, with many patients experiencing long waiting times for a donor. Current statistics reveal that one in six IVF cycles are donation cycles in the UK, yet demand far outstrips supply.

Prospective parents can wait up to two years to find a suitable donor, and for many they decide to travel abroad to places like Spain and Cyprus. This brings different considerations for patients as egg donation in other countries is regulated differently to the UK, with most egg donation being completely anonymous. 

Apricity’s new programme directly addresses this gap by encouraging egg sharing. Participants in the Freeze and Share programme can donate a portion of their eggs to be used by individuals or couples in need, thereby reducing waiting times and helping more people achieve their dreams of parenthood.

“We are incredibly proud to launch our Freeze and Share Programme, which represents a significant advancement in our fertility services,” said Mel Chacksfield, CEO of Apricity Fertility.

“This new service will not only make egg freezing more accessible and affordable to the many women who may not usually have the chance to preserve their fertility, but will also mean we can better support our families and parents that rely on donor eggs to start their families.

“Our commitment to providing personalised care through innovation in the sector continues to drive us forward, ensuring we meet the evolving needs of all our patients”

To be eligible for egg sharing, women will need to meet specific criteria such as BMI, age and ovarian reserve. They will have unlimited counselling throughout the process to ensure they are fully informed and supported from the start.

Women who choose to participate in the Freeze and Share programme will then undergo the standard egg freezing process. A portion of the retrieved eggs will be frozen for their personal use, while the remaining eggs will be donated to Apricity’s frozen egg donor bank.

This mutually beneficial arrangement ensures that participants receive significant financial relief while offering a lifeline to those in need of donor eggs.

For more information on Freeze & Share visit Apricity’s website 

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Endometriosis needs to be taken as seriously as diabetes, says report

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A new report, which called for “urgent” changes in endometriosis care, has said the condition should be taken as seriously as diabetes.

The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) report examined the long-standing issues faced by women with endometriosis in the UK.

The study stated that endometriosis should be treated as a chronic condition and taken as seriously as illnesses such as diabetes and bowel disease.

Currently, endometriosis symptoms are treated as multiple isolated episodes, with symptoms often going unrecognised by healthcare practitioners as potentially being endometriosis.

The report recommended that training for healthcare professionals should be improved to recognise the symptoms of endometriosis and that patients should be asked about how the condition affects them beyond just the physical symptoms.

Professor Andrew Horne, director of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Reproductive Health, said: “Endometriosis is frequently treated as a series of acute episodes rather than as a continuous, chronic condition. This fragmented care model overlooks the necessity for ongoing, comprehensive management, which is crucial.

“The NCEPOD report recognises the gaps in our current approach and provides important actionable guidance to drive improvements in endometriosis care.”

Emma Cox, CEO of Endometriosis UK, said: “NCEPOD’s report clearly evidences the issues faced today by those with endometriosis, and the recommendations show how improvements can – and must – be made. Implementing these will not only reduce suffering for those with endometriosis, it will also save the NHS time and resources.

“The report comes at a perfect time; we have a new government who have committed to no longer neglect women’s health, and to prioritise women’s health as the NHS is reformed.”

Dr Katy Vincent, associate professor in the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, added: “Endometriosis affects all areas of life and the information collected by this enquiry starkly illustrates the challenges that those with the condition experience.

“I am particularly pleased to see that the report highlights the need for holistic, multi-disciplinary care and for a pathway that takes into account the chronic nature of the disease, as these are areas that I have long considered need improvement.”

She continued: “I hope that those who contributed their experiences to the report feel they were heard and that clinicians and policy makers can now take these findings on board to urgently improve care for this common condition.”

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Daye launches workplace app to plug gaps in female healthcare support

The service helps promote health equity in the workplace by providing vital resources to support women’s health conditions

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The award-winning UK gynaecological health company Daye has launched its new workplace app, Daye for Work.

The app can be offered to employees across the UK as a workplace benefit, providing them with much-needed access to services that are often lacking from the NHS and even private healthcare companies.

Women face a widening gap in healthcare provision, with three-quarters saying they cannot access the services they need and 84 per cent reporting not being listened to by a healthcare professional.

Health issues can have a big impact on women’s careers, with three in five women saying a female health condition has affected them in the workplace.

However, support for women’s health is often lacking in the workplace. According to Benden Health, four in ten women have heard derogatory comments about a female employee’s health in the workplace.

As a result, 42 per cent of females admit that they are uncomfortable discussing health issues with their manager.

In addition, more than two thirds of female employees (70 per cent) have found it difficult to deal with periods at work and 64 per cent have faced challenges when experiencing menopause.

Offering support to employees struggling with female health conditions can help attract and retain staff, with 70 per cent of workers willing to change jobs for women’s health benefits.

Daye for Work provides an accessible and personalised service for women and assigned female at birth (AFAB) individuals.

Through the app, employees of businesses who sign up for Daye for Work can access Daye’s Menstrual Health Programme, which provides access to period pain support, plugging a major gap in healthcare provision as it can take years to diagnose conditions linked to menstrual health, such as endometriosis and adenomyosis.

Currently, menstrual pain support is also not offered by major private healthcare providers. Yet period pain can be so severe that nearly a quarter of women (23 per cent) have taken time off work for menstrual symptoms in the last six months, with nine days of productivity per woman lost every year, according to the British Medical Journal.

In monetary terms, women can lose tens of thousands during their careers as they are forced to take time off work.

Daye for Work also offers a Gynae Health Screening Programme, where users can access specialists for gynaecological-related health issues, such as recurrent vaginal infections, which is another service lacking through the NHS and private healthcare companies.

While users can access help from leading specialists through instant virtual appointments, Daye also offers at-home diagnostic tampon tests that can detect vaginal infections and STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and soon they will also be able to detect HPV, which is the biggest cause of cervical cancer.

Users receive clear, actionable results via the platform and have prescriptions delivered to their homes.

Daye also offers educational support programmes, including workshops and webinars covering hot topics in female health, and HR policy and internal comms support. Employees signed up through their company get 20 per cent off products on the Daye website.

Valentina Milanova, founder and CEO of Daye, said: “Gaps in women’s health provision are impacting workplaces all over the UK. Female and AFAB staff are regularly forced to take time off while struggling to access much-needed support, advice and diagnosis, hitting workplace productivity and all too often being detrimental to women’s careers.

“Daye for Work will play a vital role in plugging the gaps in female healthcare, offering services that take years to access on the NHS and aren’t available from private healthcare providers.

“Offering such tailored support is transformational for workplace culture, making staff feel valued and understood, while also helping to attract and retain talent.”

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