The rector of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Laia de Nadal , and the CEO of the Eugin Group, Eduardo González , have today signed in Barcelona the renewal of the Eugin-UPF Chair in Assisted Human Reproduction, a partnership that began in 2019 and which will now be extended until 2025. For the next three years, the planned activities will address, from a science-based point of view, such topical and demographic issues as the challenges of age in modern parenthood.
The Chair, headed by Francesc Calafell , professor at the UPF’s Department of Medicine and Life Sciences (MELIS), has the primary aims of promoting research, dissemination, knowledge transfer and training in the field of human reproduction in general and assisted reproduction in particular, for which, until 2025, both organisations will jointly carry out a range of initiatives to achieve this purpose.
The actions envisaged in terms of will include the definition and development of lines of research, the promotion of joint doctoral theses and cooperation in procuring projects.
In terms of dissemination and knowledge transfer, there will be exhibition and dissemination days, as well as the process of the industrialisation of research results in commercial lines, giving a boost to research publications, and the transfer of knowledge between work areas.
Finally, outstanding among its training activities are the creation of preand post-doctoral scholarships; awards for end-of-degree projects, papers, or other competitions; work experience schemes; and cooperation in the design and teaching of subjects.
Pandemic and genetics, key issues in assisted reproduction between 2019 and 2022The first three years of collaboration between Eugin and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra have been shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic. Against this background, the experts analysed on several occasions the consequences of the public health situation, highlighting the fact that delaying the decision to have children due to the pandemic, whether naturally or through assisted reproduction, had a major emotional impact which, in addition to stress and anxiety, on many occasions could lead to depression.
This impact was also felt in the drop in births observed between November 2020 and March 2021, with around 6,000 fewer children born each month compared to the previous year. In fact, although the trend has been downward for some time, experts stressed that such a sudden drop had never been seen before. They also pointed to the discontinuation in assisted reproduction treatments for a few weeks between March and April 2020 as one of the causes of the drop in births in this period.
On the other hand, genetics has also played and continues to play a major role in reproduction and, in this regard, the importance of preventive medicine in the field of reproduction and its influence on the reduction of serious genetic diseases was analysed on several occasions by Spanish and international experts as part of the work of the Chair. One of the most significant genetic tests at present is the extended carrier screening test, which analyses between 300 and 600 genes and it is estimated that, just by studying 300 genes, it can identify, before pregnancy, diseases that affect up to one in every 100 children overall.
"The Eugin-UPF Chair’s space for reflection and research has allowed us to create synergies between the educational and corporate spheres over the last three years, with extremely productive results in both directions. This prolongation of the agreement will allow us to continue exploring new and highly relevant topics in the field of assisted reproduction today," said Eugin’s CEO, Eduardo Gonzalez.
"One of the challenges we are setting ourselves for this next stage of collaboration is to reach a wider public in the dissemination of information on assisted reproduction," adds Francesc Calafell , director of the Chair.