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Maddie Ota, Academy of Our Lady of Peace High - Oncofertility Conference 2014

poster ota

The Oncofertility Consortium Conference was my first scientific conference and overall, it was incredible. Upon signing in, we immediately got to meet Dr. Teresa Woodruff, the pioneer of the Oncofertility Consortium. It was amazing to meet the woman without whom thousands of cancer survivors might not have hope of having biological children. Throughout the rest of the day, we had the opportunity to hear speeches from renowned doctors and scientists on the latest advancements in biotechnology, cancer-fighting drugs, and fertility preservation options. We even heard two Keynote presentations: "Toward Hope: Global Efforts to Preserve Fertility," by Dr. Samuel Kim, MD, University of Kansas Medical Center, and "Ovarian Tissue Vitrification and Transplantation for Fertility Preservation- from Lab Animals to Clinical Application," by Dr. Nao Suzuki, MD, PhD, St. Marianna University, School of Medicine. In the final presentation, Dr. Suzuki revealed that research in Japan recently lead to the first live birth from vitrification in the world. Like Dr. Suzuki, the presenters at the conference shared information so up-to-date it has not even been published. I felt incredibly privileged to be able to hear first-hand accounts of doctors' efforts around the world to increase fertility preservation options for cancer survivors.

After the guest speaker portion of the conference, we had the opportunity to present our scientific posters to the other conference attendees. Our posters were set up like a science fair, so guests could walk around and ask us questions. It was rewarding to both share the information I had learned, but also to hear about some of the other research students and doctors had performed over the last year. Oncofertility started less than ten years ago and it is astonishing to see how far the Consortium has progressed. The posters ranged from a variety of topics, from the impact of hypothyroidism on women's pregnancies to fertility preservation options for transgender patients. The San Diego Oncofertility Saturday Academy (OSA) girls and I also got to meet the OSA girls from Chicago. It was so nice to meet girls with similar interests and to learn about what they did over the summer. I think all of the girls would all agree that this was an unforgettable experience in which we were all extremely privileged to take part.