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Posted in: ,Letter from the Chair

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you are all keeping well and have enjoyed a sunny, if somewhat restricted, summer.

Work within the sector continues to normalise and it is really encouraging to see, from figures recently published by the HFEA, that most centres in the UK are back to pre-pandemic treatment numbers. It also highlights the hard work in difficult circumstances that you are all undertaking to deliver services to our patients.

It was with great sadness that the ARCS programme committee and the Exec took the decision to cancel the inaugural ARCS symposium that had been scheduled for the beginning of September. It seemed clear though that with a surge in Delta variant cases, the membership was not yet ready for a face-to-face meeting. After many weeks only a handful of delegates had registered and even fewer people had submitted abstracts. Above all else though, we felt that the ongoing safety of our members and exhibitors came first. We now plan, all being well, for our inaugural symposium to be held next year.

In order to compensate for the loss of the symposium, ARCS have launched a new programme of virtual events under the banner of ‘ARCS 365’. These events, which will take place every month and continue for at least 12 months, will contain all of the content that had been organised for the symposium and more. Importantly, they should help us to rebuild the sense of community that our Association has been robbed of by the pandemic and pave the way towards a future hybrid model of face-to-face and digital events. Keep an eye on your emails and the ARCS social media accounts for further information.

The ARCS/BFS COVID working group have published updated guidance on fertility treatment during the pandemic and we plan to review this regularly in light of the ever changing national and health service guidelines and the progression of the pandemic as a whole. Please do get in touch with the Exec if you need any help or have any comments or suggestions for future guidance.

In order to compensate for the loss of the symposium, ARCS have launched a new programme of virtual events under the banner of ‘ARCS 365’

ARCS are hoping to work more closely with colleagues at the Progress Educational Trust over the next year or so. If you aren’t aware of the work of PET, please do take the time to review their website and keep an eye out for the excellent and topical meetings that they continue to organise, some of which will be sponsored by ARCS.

At the time of writing, Fertility 2022, entitled ‘Rising to global challenges’ is still planned to be face-to-face in Liverpool from the 5th-8th January. There is very limited time left to submit abstracts, so please don’t miss out on the opportunity and, all being well, we look forward to seeing you there.

We continue to work with the BFS and SRF on our project to achieve Royal Chartered status and have attracted support from many organisations including, most recently, the Royal College of Pathologists. We will keep you updated on the progress of this important project as it progresses.

Finally, our quarterly publication ‘The Reproductive Scientist’ has had a change of format. The articles will no longer be published as a stand-alone digital magazine but will be available individually in an easy to read and accessible format on our website, so please do visit to stay up to date with the latest developments in the sector.

Best wishes