Prof. Joyce Harper, UK

Professor of Reproductive Science and Reproductive Health
Active Member of MSERM

In 1992 I joined the PGD team at the Hammersmith Hospital performing clinical biopsiesand FISH diagnosis as well as undertaking research into chromosomeabnormalities of human embryos. In 1993 I started a joint project with the Hammersmith Hospital and University CollegeLondon. In 1996 I designed (withProfessor Joy Delhanty and Professor Charles Rodeck) the first of my MScprogrammes at UCL that I direct (Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine) andin 2002 I developed a second MSc programme (Reproductive Science and Womens’Health).

My current roles include being Professor of Reproductive Science, head of the Reproductive Science and Society group, founder of Global Women Connected and Director of the Embryology and PGD Academy. I have had many senior roles in ESHRE,including co-founder of the ESHRE PGD Consortium. I also has several roles in the HFEA including chair of the Horizon Scanning Group.

Research Summary

After my PhD I worked as a clinical embryologist for 5 years and researched into various topics of IVF, including lab and patient aspects. In 1992 I joined the preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) team at the Hammersmith Hospital, working with Alan Handyside and Robert Winston, and joined UCL PGD team in 1994. Over this time my research interests were in preimplantation genetics, ranging from DNA damage and aneuploidy in sperm to methylation patterns in human embryos. I used FISH to examine chromosome arrangements in human embryos and was the first to report the high levels of mosaicism that have now been observed by many other groups internationally. I have always been interested in the world data of PGD, having written two papers exploring this in 1994 and 1996. This lead to the establishment of the ESHRE PGD Consortium, and annual world data papers, as well as guidelines and position statements. Through a variety of interesting events, my research has now moved to look at fertility education, IVF add-ons, FemTech (digital technology for women’s health) and donor conception. Having co-founded the Fertility Education Initiative in 2016, I founded the International Fertility Education Initiative in 2020

Teaching Summary

I have a passion for education and improving education excellence throughout UCL and beyond. I was the Institute for Women’s Health Director of Education for 25 years. In 1996 I co-established the MSc in Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine and followed this in 2002 with a second MSc in Reproductive Science and Women’s Health. In recent years we have expanded our repertoire to include and MRes in Reproductive Science and Women’s Health and an MSc in Women’s Health.

I want to ensure that men and women are fully informed about their fertility. I am co-founder of the Fertility Education Initiative and founder of the International Fertility Education Initiative. My latest book – Your Fertile Years, was published by Sheldon Press in 2021.

I regularly appear in the printed press and on Radio and TV to discuss women’s health and fertility.