MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
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First UK Fertility Preservation meeting is organised and hosted by CRH

Successful meeting and public engagement event attracts national media interest.

This article was first published on 11 October 2017

Cancer affects around one in 800 children, around 70% of whom now survive long-term following treatment.

A high proportion of these young cancer survivors are at risk of infertility. Current fertility preservation options are limited for many young patients but a group of Edinburgh clinicians and scientists are working to change that.

CRH’s Dr Rod Mitchell and Professor Richard Anderson make up 40% of the Edinburgh Fertility Preservation team. The cryopreservation of tissue from patients is a major component of fertility preservation process and Edinburgh is the only UK centre with ethical approval to freeze testis biopsies for prepubertal boys, prior to cancer treatment.

This research field is receiving growing publicity and interest as reflected by the high attendance numbers and media interest in the first UK Fertility Preservation Annual Meeting. This was held in Edinburgh on 5-6 October and was organised by Dr Rod Mitchell.

The overarching theme was Fertility Preservation for Young Cancer Patients and topics discussed included the effects of cancer treatment on future fertility; fertility preservation – ethics and law; strategies to protect fertility in young people with cancer; decision making for fertility preservation.

Eminent guest speakers from across Europe and the UK were welcomed to Edinburgh and the meeting secured 130 participants.

125 people from near and far attended the separate public engagement event, which was MC’d by Sheena McDonald.

This meeting catalysed the interest of those attending and Twitter was very active during the two days of the meeting, with emotive questions being asked including: ‘Should we focus on protecting, rather than preserving, fertility?’ and ‘Why don’t men follow up on banked sperm?

Positive feedback appeared via Twitter after the meeting, with comments such as great promise for prepubertal boys. The future is brighter for them’ and ‘fascinating and challenging talks at the Fertility Preservation meeting’.

The media responded to news of this meeting, the first of its kind in the UK, by requesting interviews with CRH’s Rod Mitchell and Richard Anderson. Coverage generated included front page print and online articles in The Herald on 07.10.17, followed up with an opinion piece. BBC Reporting Scotland ran an extensive segment which included interviews with both Richard and Rod and filming of the CRH research labs.

Dr Rod Mitchell and Professor Richard Anderson interviewed by the BBC
Dr Rod Mitchell and Professor Richard Anderson of MRC-CRH are filmed for BBC’s Reporting Scotland.


View article "Boy, aged one, youngest in Scotland to have testicle frozen to preserve his future fertility" Herald.



Further coverage appeared in The Sunday Telegraph and the Scottish Sun, on 08.10.17


View the BBC Reporting Scotland video, interviewing Professor Richard Anderson and Dr Rod Mitchell.