Barcelona is hosting EBART, the first international conference on Evidence-Based Assisted Reproductive Technology

The event, organised by Eugin Clinic, brought together 300 medical professionals from all over the world

On April 21 and 22, in the city of Barcelona, Eugin Clinic organised the first such conference in the world to address the scientific evidence of a range of treatments and assisted reproductive techniques that are currently being applied.

This international conference brought together about 300 medical professionals in the field of assisted reproduction. It included the participation of Johannes Evers, professor emeritus and chief editor of Human Reproduction, the leading magazine in the sector; medical eminences such as professors David Keefe and Jan Brosens; Dr. Rita Vassena, member of the executive committee of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESRHE) and Scientific Director of Eugin Clinic, as well as other globally renowned speakers.

More than half of the techniques, without scientific basis

According to a study published by the British Medical Journal, 55% of the techniques that are currently used in general medicine lack a solid scientific base, in other words, there is no sufficiently conclusive scientific evidence to support their effectiveness. “This is also applicable to reproductive medicine,” says Dr. Rita Vassena, co-director of the Congress and member of the Executive Committee of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE, its acronym in English).
From the study of the existence of a scientific basis in even more specific techniques the demand for self-regulation by the sector has emerged, which is what the EBART Congress is promoting.

Preventive genetic screening, under debate

Another of the major topics to be discussed during the conference is the scientific and ethical implications of the latest breakthroughs in the field of preventive genetic screening. Although this set of techniques should be highly beneficial, as it prevents the hereditary transmission of genes that carry serious diseases, the fact is that it still arouses controversy within the medical community.

In this regard, Dr. Rita Vassena stresses that thanks to preconception screening, which Eugin was a pioneer in applying, more than 200 genetic diseases can be prevented such as cystic fibrosis, beta-thalassemia, fragile X syndrome and diseases like Gaucher, Hunter and Usher, among others.

Dr. Vassena supports the current thinking of experts who argue that these preventive tests should be carried out on the whole population: “The risk of pairings that can lead to serious genetic diseases in children stands at 3-4%. In these cases, on average, one out of every four children born will develop the disease, so that the risk of suffering any of these diseases is present in 1 in 100 children. Thanks to the techniques of genetic preventive screening this risk is very significantly reduced.”