In The Field

ASRM roundup (and a plea for pronunciation assistance)

So the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s 63rd annual meeting has ended. I took a stab at giving you some of the higlights, but here’s an incomplete roundup of coverage elsewhere on the meeting.

While I was in another session on cryopreservation of eggs, embryos and the like, it looks like I missed some interesting imaging studies that someone posted on over at huliq.

I was around for the press briefing on Desvenlafaxine to treat the symptoms of menopause – mostly hot flushes. This is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs are usually used to treat depression) that Wyeth has been testing in hopes of regaining its former glory in the treatment of menopause after years of dwindling prospects over hormonal therapies. It was interesting, I thought, but something that they’ve been working on for a while. Some were concerned about suicidal thoughts – a side effect flagged in young people when they start the drug – but the data don’t currently indicate anything abnormal – and the study design only accepted women with clean bills of mental health. picked up a presser on their blog.

Reuters story here

British press went ga-ga over the ASRM’s updated recommendations on oocyte freezing, which is kind of odd, because the ASRM practice committee basically just maintained their stance that it’s an experimental procedure, and not recommended as a way to preserve fertility or delay childbirth for non-health related issues. Nevertheless, the public’s interest in the process gave the announcement some weight and momentum in the lay press.

Times Online


New Scientist


It’s an interesting story, and worth following. But for the immediate conference goers, at least, the ASRM’s policy recommendations on preimplantation genetic screening appeared far more controversial, as we reported here.

The tricky part about IVF, and I’ve heard this confirmed by researchers who do the process in mice, is that determining the status and potential for development of an embryo in a dish, is really a black art. Even almost 30 years on, in human studies, there’s much guess work involved in choosing the best embryos for implantation. One of the very first oral presentations at the meeting apparently looked to address this gap in understanding through looking at the metabolites produced by the embryo en masse (despite my own wishes, it seems, the moniker ‘metabolomics’ has stuck to this practice). I missed it, but hope to get a chance to follow up with the author. Marketwire posted a press release on it here.

More headlines through the ASRM press office here.

Oh, and I’d heard different variations on how the acronym ASRM should be pronounced, and I’m more confused than ever. How do you say ASRM?


  1. Report this comment

    S.E. Olson PhD said:

    I’ve been a member for many years and I’ve never heard ASRM pronounced any other way than A-S-R-M

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