In the middle of world COVID-19 pandemic, medical professionals in the ART field need to know if the virus can affect reproductive organs and if the infected organs will lose their functions. If the answer is yes, is it a permanent damage or just a reversible interference? Furthermore, as the virus has been found in most body fluids of an affected person, how about semen and follicle fluid and is sexual transmission a possibility? It is important to have the answers, or at least to know what scientific studies have discovered so far. These pieces of information are helpful for us to update the patient recommendations for fertility care and the risk management guidelines for infection control in the pandemic.

We are honored to have Dr. Virgilio Novero and Dr. Kimball O. Pomeroy to share their views. Dr. Novero, the head of the Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine and Infertility in Metro Manila, from Philippines will review and share with us the most updated information of the impact of COVID-19 on Reproductive system and related basic concepts.

Dr. Pomeroy, the Scientific Director for the World Egg Bank, from USA, will review the detecting of the presence of COVID-19 virus in cells from molecular point of view, and the results of researches on the presence of COVID-19 virus in testicular/sperm, ovary/oocyte and embryo. He will also discuss the methods that might help the lab reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus infection.

It is a great pleasure to invite you to join this ASPIRE webinar. We hope the information we are sharing will benefit embryologists, physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals and scientific researchers in ART field.

Watch the lecture recordings below and take advantage of your opportunity to ask questions about this exciting area of reproductive medicine. Questions will be addressed at the live forum session taking place on Saturday, 28 November 2020 at 10am GMT (+8).

Lecture 1: Impact of COVID-19 on Reproductive System

Speaker: Dr. Virgilio Novero (Manila, Philippines) [click to view speaker’s bio]

With the pandemic raging into its 9th month, a few things have been learned about the SARS-CoV2 virus that are of utmost importance in planning current and future recommendations as regards to fertility care in the pandemic. It is important to review these concepts to update management guidelines.

SARS-CoV2 requires both ACE2 receptors and TMPRSS2 proteases to allow cell entry & replication. SARS-CoV2 competes for the same receptors needed by ACE2 to mediate in the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS) that serves to protect the vasculature of various organ systems, the presence of infection therefore inhibits the protective effect of the RAAS and results in the adverse actions of SARS-CoV2.

Sexual transmission of SARS-CoV2 through vaginal fluids is unlikely but confirmation the presence of the virus in semen remains unconfirmed such that more research is required. Non-coital sex transmission of yet virus remains a possibility as SARS-CoV2 has been found in other body fluids as tears, anal swabs, breast milk, and others.

Finally, the risk of SARS-CoV2 infection in the human reproductive system is high among males and low among females. Gene expression findings that have consistently found enough ACE2 receptors and TMPRSS2 proteases in various stages of spermatogenesis in the male accessory glands. This is based on single-cell profiling studies in various organs in the male and female reproductive tract. Finally, systemic effects of COVID-19 causing thrombosis may be more detrimental to fertility & pregnancy than direct attack to its organs in the female reproductive organs.

Have questions pertaining to this lecture? Leave your questions in the comment box below or send them to Questions collected will be addressed at the live forum session happening on Saturday, 28 November 2020 at 10am (GMT+8).

Lecture 2: SARS-COV-2 in Gametes and Embryos – Best Practices to Reduce Risk in the IVF Laboratory

Speaker: Dr. Kimball O. Pomeroy (Phoenix, USA) [click to view speaker’s bio]

SARS-COV-2, the virus responsible for the disease COVID-19, is a new corona virus. In order to be able to safely execute assisted reproductive technologies with a virus that we know little about and where the information about this virus is accumulating, it is important to understand new discoveries as they develop. We must understand the molecular tools used to determine the ability of this virus to be able to understand future developments.

The polymerase chain reaction is used to detect the presence of the virus in cells, but it cannot distinguish between infective virus and fragments of dead virus. Databases of messenger RNA found in single-cells of particular tissue can be used to detect the expression of proteins necessary for the virus to infect a cell. This method can detect whether the two types of necessary proteins, virus receptors or enzymes that cleave the spike of the virus coexist in these tissue cells. The mRNA that is necessary for these proteins is measured, not the actual proteins.

The results of probing the three major types of reproductive tissue, testicular/sperm, ovarian/oocyte and embryonic, for the presence of the viral RNA from SARS-COV-2 and for the cellular proteins that allow viral entry, receptors ACE-2 Receptor and BSG, and the cleavage proteases TMPRSS2 and the cathepsins CTSB and CTSL, are examined.

Finally, potential methods that might reduce the probability of SARS-COV-2 infection of tissue or the infection of patients and healthcare workers are presented.

Have questions pertaining to this lecture? Leave your questions in the comment box below or send them to Questions collected will be addressed at the live forum session happening on Saturday, 28 November 2020 at 10am (GMT+8).


Watch our forum session which was held on Saturday, 28 November 2020 at 10am (GMT+8).

Moderator: Professor Chi Ling (Stamford, USA) and Professor Arthur Chang (San Antonio, USA)

Panellists: Dr. Virgilio Novero (Manila, Philippines) and Dr. Kimball O. Pomeroy (Phoenix, USA)