Centre for Reproductive Health

Fertility Preservation Professors engage with budding scientists from Liberton

Two Professors from The Centre for Reproductive Health (IRR), Rod Mitchell and Evelyn Telfer, visited Liberton High School to engage with a group of Higher Biology students (on 14 November 2023).

The research carried out by Professors Evelyn Telfer CBE and Rod Mitchell on female and male reproduction looks into novel ways to preserve fertility. Both Professors are also members of the Edinburgh Fertility Preservation (EFP) team which was founded by a group of clinicians and scientists working at UoE and hospitals within Edinburgh. Their aim is to develop procedures for fertility preservation in children and young adults, usually cancer patients, who are due to undergo treatment which may compromise their long-term fertility.

Thirty budding young scientists were interested to learn about Fertility Preservation and new developments being made in the lab, and take part in interactive games and educational activities related to reproductive health research.

Professor Mitchell’s CRH lab group investigates Fertility Preservation in young males whilst Professor Telfer conducts research into fertility preservation in females. To offer the students some prior knowledge of this topic they were supplied the CRH’s Fertility Preservation scientific animation to watch ahead of our visit.

CRH’s Fertility Preservation scientific animation

The session began with an interactive presentation for the students, who were eager to hear about the research progress being made across this field in Edinburgh and worldwide.

Professor Mitchell led a talk on fertility preservation research in young males making it accessible by using fun analogies including spaghetti bolognaise, formula one racing and mini-eggs, and bringing props to demonstrate the novel ways that fertility can be preserved.

Professor Telfer encouraged the students to examine some ovary tissue and described how scientific research is bring us closer to the possibility of making new eggs (and sperm) entirely outside the body using other cell types. 

Discussion topics chosen by the students included creating eggs in a dish to generating mice from two “dads” (male mice) and more general reproduction and fertility related questions closely aligned with their school science curriculum.

A lively Q&A followed, with the students asking insightful questions about ethics, morality and legislation. They were also keen to know more about what technique is used to store the tissue, the use of animals in research, and key fertility preservation goals for the future.

The event concluded with interactive quiz for the students based around Fertility Preservation and scientific facts and stats, with egg and sperm themed prizes rewarded for the correct answers.

The feedback was very positive with the students keen to tell both Professors how much they enjoyed the session. The teachers commented that our visits help support the work currently being done within the Higher Biology curriculum and encourage the students to consider STEM further education courses and future careers in research.

Learn more about Edinburgh Fertility Preservation (EFP) research

This visit was organised and implemented by Ginnie Clark (Communications and Public Engagement manager) as part of CRH’s school engagement programme.


Photo of School Visit
School Visit