Summary of International RPL Electives

Dr. Lia Bernardi, our first Recurrent Pregnancy Loss fellow, completed two international electives: one in Amsterdam and one in Liverpool. She describes her experiences below.

October -November, 2012.
I had a five week RPL elective at The Academic Medical Center (AMC) at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. My supervisor was Dr. Mariette Goddijn, Co-Coordinator of the ESHRE Special Interest Group for Early Pregnancy. I worked closely with Dr. Rosa Vissenberg, a PhD student who is studying recurrent miscarriage and thyroid disease for her doctoral thesis. I attended clinics in the AMC Recurrent Miscarriage Program, and I learned how clinicians there evaluate and treat women with RPL in an evidence-based fashion. The physicians at the AMC are committed to answering clinical questions through randomized controlled trials, and I witnessed the regular recruitment of women from the Recurrent Miscarriage Program into ongoing studies. In addition, I observed procedures in the AMC IVF Center, including oocyte retrievals, embryo transfers, and MESA and TESE procedures for male infertility. I also attended the AMC Early Pregnancy Unit where I gained experience evaluating and treating abnormalities in early gestation. I gained research experience by attending conferences aimed at junior investigators and by joining in small group meetings led by Dr. Ben Willem Mol, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Clinical Epidemiology. I also started working on a collaborative ESHRE/ASRM publication on nomenclature for early pregnancy loss.  At the conclusion of my elective in Amsterdam, I attended the ESHRE “Evidence Based Early Pregnancy Care” meeting and presented “Impact of Subclinical Hypothyroidism in Women with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss” an abstract based on my RPL fellowship research project. 

December 2012.
I had a three week RPL elective at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital.  My supervisor was Dr. Roy Farquharson, who is the previous Chair of the Association of Early Pregnancy Units and is the past Coordinator of the ESHRE Special Interest Group for Early Pregnancy. I also worked closely with Dr. Feroza Dawood, a specialist with clinical and research interests in RPL. My elective was primarily clinical, and I attended numerous recurrent miscarriage and early pregnancy clinics.  I also spent a significant amount of time on the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit under the guidance of Dr. Joanne Topping, the Clinical Director of Maternity, Imaging and Pathology.  Throughout my elective at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, I read the book “Early Pregnancy” edited by Dr. Farquharson and Dr. Mary Stephenson and found it to be a valuable resource.

These electives with internationally-recognized clinician-scientists were incredible. I plan to continue corresponding with them and working on future collaborations.  These invaluable electives will certainly impact my academic career.