Saudi Fertility Group 9th Annual Meeting, Jeddah

Start Date: Friday 02-Apr-2021
End Date: Friday 02-Apr-2021

Dear Colleagues;
This year conference entitled “Contemporary Practice in Infertility” comes as part of the Saudi Fertility Group’s (SFG) responsibility to continue to interact with the healthcare community to deliver an accurate health information by providing an up-to-date knowledge and development in the field of Reproductive Medicine with regards to Fertility Treatment and Technology.
It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you all to the 9th Annual Conference of Saudi Fertility Group (SFG) and Saudi Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SSOG) in spite of our current situation during this time of pandemic that we will still continue the learning process and keep the wheel of CME and active research running for progress in the field of Reproductive Medicine and face with a positive mind in spite with the limitation of some public gatherings, we will still comply with the minimum healthcare standards being imposed by the government (Ministry of Health) like social distancing, wearing of facemask and use of alcohol with the limited numbers of participants in the venue.
Thereby, the Saudi Fertility Group (SFG) will continue that pathway by conducting the 9th Annual Conference at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
This is an opportunity to share the latest updates, expertise and knowledge for all those who are interested and already practicing the Reproductive Medicine here and abroad.
 Finally, I thank all the Speakers, Chairpersons and Sponsoring Companies for participating in this annual event.  I wish you all an enjoyable experience.
Best Regards,
Dr. Hamad Al-Sufyan [FRCOG] President of Saudi Fertility Group (SFG)

07:00 - 08:00
Registration & Coffee & Light Snacks
08:00 - 08:30
Welcome and Introduction, Voting Demo [moderated by chairpersons] – Zoom entry 08:00 Sharp.
Session - 1 [Moderated By Dr. Abdalla Salih & Dr. Ayman Oriafi

Lecture -1
08:30 - 08:35
08:35 - 08:55
Adjuvant therapy in IVF What evidence?

Dr. Majeed Al Oum, UAE
08:55 - 09:00
09:00 - 09:15

Lecture -2
09:15 - 09:20
09:20 - 09:40
Benefits for the couple from Andrological assessment of the husband.

Dr. Abdulaziz Baazeem, Jeddah, KSA
09:40 - 09:45
09:45 - 10:00

Lecture -3
10:00 - 10:05
10:05 - 10:25
From Stem Cells to Gametes is in-vitro Gametogenesis possible.

Prof. Björn Heindryckx, Belgium
10:25 - 10:30
10:30 - 10:45

Lecture -4
10:45 - 10:50
10:50 - 11:10
Failed fertilization or Embryonic development after ICSI: Diagnosis & Treatment.

Prof. Björn Heindryckx, Belgium
11:10 - 11:15
11:15 - 11:30

Lecture -5
11:30 - 11:35
11:35 - 11:55
Novelties in LPS in fresh and frozen embryo transfer cycles.

Dr. Nicolaos P. Polyzos, Spain
11:55- 12:00
12:00- 12:15

12:15 - 13:30  
Friday Prayer and Lunch
13:30 – 14:00
Honoring & Photo Session
Session - 2 [Moderated By Prof. Hiafaa Alturki]

Lecture -6
14:00 - 14:05
14:05 - 14:25
How to prepare endometrium for FET Cycle.

Dr. Hakan Yarali, Turkey
14:25 - 14:30
14:30 - 14:45

Lecture -7
14:45 - 14:50
14:50 – 15:10
Artificial intelligence and embryo selection.

Mrs. Mayyas Jaweesh, Riyadh, KSA.
15:10 - 15:15
15:15 - 15:30

Debate Session [Moderated By Dr. Twifig Gaffer]
Should we treat Endometriosis before IVF Cycle?
15:30 - 15:35
15:35 - 15:55
Dr. Tarek Baghdady, Riyadh, KSA.
15:55 - 16:15
Dr. Majed Hudhud, Riyadh, KSA.
16:15 - 16:20
16:20 - 16:45
16:45  Closing

09:00 - 09:30   
Lecture -1.
Adjuvant therapy in IVF What evidence?
Dr. Majeed Al Oum, UAE

09:30 - 10:00   
Lecture -2.
Benefits for the couple from Andrological assessment of the husband.
Dr. Abdulaziz Baazeem, Jeddah, KSA
A male factor component to infertility is found in over 50% of affected couples. Yet the focus, and subsequently the burden of treatment, is often set on the female partner. We aim to outline some of the potential risks that can be associated with such an approach, as well as the benefits of performing an adequate assessment of the male partner by a qualified specialist.

10:00 - 10:30  
Lecture -3
From Stem Cells to Gametes is in-vitro Gametogenesis possible.
Prof. Björn Heindryckx, Belgium
For both men and women experiencing infertility, current treatment options rely on the premise that both partners produce functional haploid gametes. The primary need for stem cell-derived (SCD) gametes originates from the desire of sterile individuals to have their own genetic offspring if they cannot be helped by the currently available methods of assisted reproductive technology. These patients lack functional oocytes or sperm to reproduce and can currently only be helped by gamete donation. Pluripotent stem cells (PSC) have been shown to give rise to most of the cell types of an individual, including differentiation potential towards gametes. In order to produce gametes for patients, the PSC should genetically match the infertile person. Hence PSCs have to be developed through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). While iPSC production has already been established well for a long time in human, the process of SCNT has now become successful in human, with the derivation of several embryonic stem cell lines from human SCNT embryos.
Furthermore, it has become clear that PSCs may exist in different states of pluripotency, being the naive and primed pluripotent state, that differ, amongst others, in their differentiation potential towards germ cells, as shown in mice. The greatest success thus far to produce SCD gametes in mice has been achieved using naive PSCs as starting population; therefore naive human PSCs should be established. Several groups have now succeeded in the establishment of naive human PSC, and recent evidence demonstrated that these cells have the potential to differentiate efficiently towards primordial germ cells in human.
Finally, differentiation protocols have to be optimised to further differentiate primordial germ cells towards functional and mature oocytes or sperm. Remarkably, functional SCD gametes have been produced successfully in mouse, completely in vitro, resulting in life offspring, albeit to a lower efficiency compared to in vivo produced gametes. In human, primordial germ cells can be produced from PSC, still, the last step to produce functional oocytes or sperm, remains to be established. It will be important to assess the (epi-)genetic normality in depth of the SCD gametes and test the functionality of these cells before any clinical application should be considered in human.

10:30 - 11:00
Lecture -4.
Failed fertilization or Embryonic development after ICSI: Diagnosis & Treatment.
Prof. Björn Heindryckx, Belgium
Failed fertilization after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) still occurs in up to 5% of all the cycles. The main cause of fertilization failure after ICSI is an oocyte activation deficiency. Oocyte activation is characterized by a series of intracellular calcium (Ca2+) rises released from the inositol trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) present in the oocyte, and triggered by the sperm-related factor phospholipase C zeta (PLCz). Hence, both the sperm and the oocyte play crucial roles in the start of oocyte activation; deficiencies in them can lead to failed fertilization after ICSI. To distinct a sperm- from an oocyte-related factor, heterologous ICSI of human sperm into mouse oocytes is proposed to determine the activation potential of sperm. Given the higher activation potential of human PLCz compared to mouse PLCz, this test might not be sensitive enough to reveal more subtle abnormalities in PLCz. Therefore, assessment of the precise Ca2+ pattern caused by the sperm could be of added value to reveal more accurately the cause of failed or low fertilization after ICSI. Our recent evidence shows that determining the precise Ca2+ pattern caused by the sperm in mouse or human oocytes is beneficial to reveal the cause of fertilization failure. Also genetic screening of the PLCz gene can provide new information, and more and more mutations are reported. The application of Assisted Oocyte Activation (AOA) during ICSI is mostly able to overcome fertilization failure and can result in successful pregnancies at a high efficiency rate. Still, the success of AOA is largely dependent on the specific method that is used. Interestingly, a correct series of Ca2+ oscillations has been also correlated with later stages of such as embryonic developmental potential and even post-implantation events in animal models. The first cleavages are almost exclusively oocyte-driven, depending on mRNAs and proteins already present in the oocyte. Hence, early embryonic developmental arrest, could be resolved by changing the inferior oocyte cytoplasm by a donor cytoplasm, a technique called Nuclear Transfer. It remains to be elucidated for which infertility indications this Nuclear Transfer technology could be beneficial.

11:00 - 11:30
Lecture -5.
Novelties in LPS in fresh and frozen embryo transfer cycles.
Dr. Nicolaos P. Polyzos, Spain
Progesterone supplementation is an essential part of assisted reproduction owing to the luteal phase defect observed either following ovarian stimulation for IVF/ICSI or in artificially prepared frozen embryo transfer cycles. Over the last decades different routes of progesterone administration have been utilized with differences in local and systemic absorption, pharmacokinetics and side effects. The scope of the current presentation is to present the novelties in the Luteal phase Support strategies in modern ART, the effect of progesterone formulations in fresh and frozen embryo transfer cycles and the new treatment strategies aiming towards and individualized Luteal phase support iLPS based on the measurement of serum progesterone levels.

13:00 - 13:30
Lecture -6.  
How to prepare endometrium for FET Cycle.
Dr. Hakan Yarali, Turkey
Despite the worldwide trend of performing more frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles, the search for the best protocol to obtain the most receptive endometrium is still ongoing.  Natural cycle (NC), either true NC or modified NC and hormonal replacement treatment (HRT) are the two most commonly used protocols to prepare and prime the endometrium prior to FET.  Less commonly mild stimulation with letrozole, clomiphene citrate or exogenous gonadotropins is used.  In NC or modified NC protocol, luteal phase support may or may not be employed.  In this lecture, FET preparation protocols as well as the available comparative data will be presented.  Due to the recent emerging data of increased pregnancy induced hypertension cases associated with the use of HRT, one can predict that more and more NC/m-NC will be performed in the future.  
Personalized medicine is required to maximize efficacy and safety and minimize treatment burden, and preparation of endometrium for FET is, obviously, not an exception.  An optimal exposure of the endometrium to progesterone (P4) in terms of timing and concentration, is of crucial importance to maximize the reproductive outcome in a FET cycle using either the NC or HRT.  The serum P4 level which has been shown to be impacted by the route of administration, is still the best proxy for the endometrial P4 level.  Until recently, serum P4 was not monitored in HRT cycles, assuming that ‘one size fits all’.  Importantly, there seems to be marked inter-personal differences in circulating P4 levels, following the same dose and route of P4 administration in an HRT cycle resulting in differences in reproductive outcomes after transfer of high-quality embryos.  Until now, to our knowledge, the impact of circulating serum P4 levels on reproductive outcomes in HRT cycles has been reported in a total of 11 studies, including our recent study.  Although these studies were heterogenous in population, route, type and dose of P4 administration, stage of embryo transfer, and the day of serum P4 measurement higher reproductive outcomes were reported when the serum P4 level was above a threshold, ranging from 8.75 to 22.00 ng/ml.  In line with these studies, we recently reported that in patients treated with vaginal P gel twice daily (bid), the ongoing pregnancy rate was significantly lower, if their serum P4 level on the warmed blastocyst transfer day was lower than 8.75 ng/ml.  A recent study also reported that marked inter-personal difference in serum P4 may exist in NC affecting reproductive outcome.  Our very recent data on rescuing FET-HRT cycles (frozen-warmed blastocyst transfer), if the serum P4 level is lower than 8.75ng/ml one day prior to the scheduled embryo transfer (6th day of P4 administration), with additional supplementation with a 25mg s.c. daily P4 dose will be presented.  Finally, the paucity of data on timing of FET will be discussed.

13:30 - 14:00
Lecture -7
Artificial intelligence and embryo selection.
Mrs. Mayyas Jaweesh, Riyadh, KSA
Since the start of IVF, the assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) have been accompanied by lots of innovations, for example, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), time-lapse monitoring of embryos, and PGS. All those are innovative techniques that increased the success of the ART.
In the same trend choosing the best embryos to be transferred to the patient was always debated and is completely decided by the skilled embryologists working in the IVF Lab along with the opinion of the IVF doctors. This process is subjective and can widely vary between different embryologist according to their skills and experience.
In order to be efficient in decision making the need arises to use computers to make the best choice, and this could be done by the stability of making subjective decisions using a standardised method based on experience.
Everyday in the IVF Lab we read the development of the embryos as a routine part of our job and indeed this is the challenge. This routine method can not give us an accurate result on which embryo should be transferred and which one will give a positive pregnancy test, and this is the limitation of the visual assessment.
Recently, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques is being widely researched whether for embryo or sperm selection. The use of AI within infertility clinics is not yet a reality and this is largely due to the different techniques that been suggested to be used in the daily routine work of the IVF laboratories, which causes some uncertainty in their use.
The advantages of using this technique is decreasing the embryos time outside the incubator especially for clinics who do not have embryos-cope. second to avoid any circumstances the embryologist might be going through and could affect their work efficiency.
The application of AI in IVF will be significant, especially in embryo evaluation and selection, assessment of ovarian reserve parameters and sperm selection.

Debate Session
Should we treat Endometriosis before IVF Cycle?
14:00 - 14:30  
Dr. Tarek Baghdady, Riyadh, KSA

14:30 - 15:00  
Dr. Majed Hodhod, Riyadh, KSA

Dr. Abdullah Salih, KSA [Chairperson]
Dr Abdalla is a senior Sub-speciality Consultant in Reproductive Medicine, Thuriah Medical Center with a commitment to delivering high quality assisted reproductive technology service maintaining at all times the highest possible success rates and maximum patient satisfaction.


Dr. Ayman Oraifi, KSA [Chairperson]
Director ART unit and endoscopy unit
Associate professor and consultant
International medical center
Dr. Majeed Al Oum, UAE [Speaker]
Consultant in obstetrics and gynecology /reproductive endocrinology / director IVF Centre
28 years’ experience in obstetrics and gynecology/ reproductive medicine/ IVF with vast experience in procedures of assisted reproduction in UK, Syria and UAE including:
  • Director of Nottingham university research and treatment unit in reproduction (nurure)
  • Lecturer / consultant in obstetrics and gynecology / reproductive medicine at queen’s medical Center /university hospitals, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Professional affiliations:

  • member of American society for reproductive medicine (ASRM) .
  • member of European society of human reproduction and embryology (ESHRE

Areas of interest in your field

  • Ovulation induction protocols
  • Surgical sperm recovery in azoospermia men
  • Recurrent implantation failure
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
  • Frequent speaker in local /regional and international meetings and conferences
Dr. Abdulaziz Baazeem MD, FRCS(C), FECSM, KSA [Speaker]
  • Assistant Professor of Urology at Umm Al-Qura University
  • Past president of the Middle East Society for Sexual Medicine (MESSM)
  • Urology Consultant at Clinicare and Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah
  • Received his Bachelor's degree from King Abdulaziz University. Graduated top of his class, with honors
  • Completed his residency training at McGill University in Montreal, QC Canada.  
  • Fellowship in Andrology (Male Infertility and Erectile Dysfunction), McGill University
  • Fellowship in Laser Prostatic Surgery, McGill University
  • Fellow of the European Committee of Sexual Medicine (FECSM)
  • Associsate Editor at Sexual Medicine
  • Involved with many institutions
    • Served as a member of the Scientific Council, as well as the Examination Committee, of the Saudi Board of Urology in the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties
    • Served on several committees in various organizations, including the International Consultation for Sexual Medicine, the International Society for Sexual Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center - Jeddah, the Middle East Society for Sexual Medicine, the Saudi Urological Association, and Umm Al-Qura University
  • A reviewer with several scientific journals and has over 20 publications

Prof. Björn Heindryckx, Belgium [Speaker]
Principle Investigator, Ghent-Fertility and Stem cell Team (G-FaST), Department for Reproductive Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, BELGIUM.
Professor at Ghent University.
University: UGent: PhD Medical Sciences (13th March 2006), Thesis: “Experimental contribution to infertility research: artificial gametes and assisted oocyte activation”, Promoter: Prof. Dr. Marc Dhont /Prof. Dr. Josiane Van der Elst, Infertility Centre, Ghent University Hospital.
Direct supervision of 16 finished PhDs. Currently promoter of 10 PhD students, 1 post-doc. National Representative Belgium for ESHRE / Co-founder of the Belgian Society for Stem Cell Research (BeSSCR)/ Vice president and Board Member of the Belgian Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Author and co-author of 105 A1 publications.
Main topics of research: Lineage segregation during early embryo development in mouse and human / Investigating different pluripotency states of embryonic stem cells in mouse and human / Failed fertilisation after ICSI & the oocyte activation mechanism / Nuclear Transfer to overcome mitochondrial diseases and Infertility/ CRISPR/Cas9 Gene editing in the mouse and human germline / Fertility preservation

Professor Dr. Nikolaos P. Polyzos, MD, PhD, Spain [Speaker]
Clinical and Scientific Director of the Department of Reproductive Medicine Dexeus University Hospital, Grupo Dexeus
Barcelona, Spain
Dr Polyzos is the Clinical and Scientific Director of the Department of Reproductive Medicine of Dexeus University Hospital in Barcelona Spain.
He is a Professor of Gynecology in the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Free University of Brussels in Belgium and a Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology in the Department of Clinical Medicine in the University of Aarhus in Denmark.
Professor Polyzos is the principal investigator in several large pioneering multinational trials and a key opinion leader in the field of Reproductive Medicine for the treatment of poor ovarian responders in IVF programs, prediction of ovarian response and premature ovarian ageing, with more than 150 invited lectures in international congresses.
He is a member of the ESHRE guideline development group for ovarian stimulation and has served as an Editorial Consultant for the PIER (Physician's Information and Education Resource) of the American College of Physicians (ACP).
Professor Polyzos has published more than 130 publications in peer reviewed journals indexed in Pubmed with more than 2400 citations and an h index of 28 in ISi web of Science. His research interests include reproductive endocrinology, ovarian reserve markers, poor ovarian response to stimulation and genetics of premature ovarian ageing.

Prof. Hiafaa Alturki [Chairperson]

Dr. Hakan Yarali, MD, Turkey [Speaker]
Professor Hakan Yaralı, MD is Professor at Hacettepe University and is the Founder and the Clinical Director of Anatolia IVF Center, Ankara which is one of the busiest IVF centers in Turkey. Following medical school and residency training in OB/GYN at Hacettepe University, he did his clinical fellowship at UBC, Vancouver, Canada during 1991-1992. Dr. Yaralı is one of the very rare physicians in Turkey certified in both clinical and laboratory IVF. Dr. Yaralı, based on h-index, was recently recognized and announced to be one of the first top 100 Turks contributed the most to the medical literature among all medical disciplines. Dr. Yaralı was the former president of Turkish Society of Reproductive Medicine (TSRM). His special interests are clinical IVF-all aspects.  He has authored 120+ articles, 8 book chapters and delivered 50+ lectures worldwide.

Mrs. Mayyas Jaweesh, Riyadh, KSA [Speaker]
Mayyas Jaweesh was awarded her BSc in Clinical Laboratory Sciences by King Saud University, Saudi Arabia,
following which she moved to the UK where she received her MSc in Assisted ReproducBon technology
from the department of obstetric and gynaecology, school of human development at the University of
NoDngham. Currently she is a PhD student in Molecular reproducBve GeneBcs at the University of
Saarland, Homburg, Germany.
Mayyas’s PhD research focuses on the effect of freezing on mitochondrial sperm DNA and its subsequent
effect on sperm moBlity and ferBlisaBon capacity.
Mayyas has a long experience of 13 years in the field of human IVF by working in different leading inferBlity
clinics as a senior clinical embryologist specialist which gave her the opportunity to use her academic
knowledge to develop her clinical and laboratory skills.
Mayyas has a keen interest in teaching and being a future University Lecturer. She has extensive experience
in parBcipaBng as a presenter and speaker in many conferences and journal clubs, as well as she was
responsible for training new embryologist about all the IVF laboratory procedures during her career as an
embryologist specialist.
Currently she is giving IVF and GeneBc courses in collaboraBon with The University of Kent and The IVF
Company from the United Kingdom

Dr. Tawfig Gaafar, KSA [Chairperson]
Medical Director of Maternity Hospital and Head of IVF Unit. Habib Medical Group, Olaya, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Dr. Tarek Baghdady, Riyadh, KSA [Speaker]
Consultant in obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, IVF and minimal invasive surgery.
and member of the French Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
Member of the European Society of human reproduction and embryology.
Fellowship in IVF and reproductive Medicine (France).
  • European Fellowship in minimal invasive Surgery.
  • French Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from King Saud University in Riyadh.
  • Head of IVF unit at King Khalid University Hospital.
  • Consultant in IVF and reproductive Medicine at King Khalid University Hospital in Riyadh.
  • Worked as a fellow in IVF and reproductive endocrinology, and minimal invasive surgery at (femme mères enfants) university hospital.
  • Worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist at the (Croix rousse)university hospital in France.
  • Worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist at (Lyon sud )University Hospital in France.
  • Worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist at (femmes mères enfants )University Hospital in France.
  • Worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist at veinne university hospital in France.
  • He worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist at military hospital in Riyadh.

Dr. Majed Hodhod, Riyadh, KSA [Speaker]
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine & Infertility and Minimal Access Surgery
Consultant Ob/Gyn and IVF and Head of Ob/Gyn Department & IVF Services, Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group, Arryan Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Fellow of the American College OBGYN (FACOG), Fellow of Royal College OBGYN, UK (FRCOG). Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine & Infertility, Imperial College, London, UK, Laparoscopy Diploma in Operative Gynecology (France), Arab & Joradanian Board in OBGyn