GENEVA, Switzerland, July 1 /PRNewswire/ --

- Global Fertility Academy Delivers Valuable Educational Tools Aiming at Increasing Expertise and Maximizing the Success Rate of Treatment

- Web-based e-Learning Modules Complemented by Individualized Practical Training Sessions at Leading Fertility Centers Worldwide

Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today the launch of the Global Fertility Academy, the first global professional educational program in fertility run by worldwide leading experts in this area.(1) Specifically developed for physicians active in treating infertility, such as reproductive endocrinologists, obstetricians/gynecologists and embryologists, the Global Fertility Academy aims at improving their knowledge of clinical standards in fertility and maximizing the success rates of treatment by providing valuable educational tools and sharing best practices. The Global Fertility Academy is available to healthcare professionals outside of the United States and Great Britain.

The educational program proposed by the Global Fertility Academy consists of two main parts: a theoretical e-learning part, and a practical training part. The newly launched website provides an online learning platform offering eight modules that cover topics ranging from the diagnosis of infertility to the business management of fertility clinics. Each module was designed by an internationally recognized fertility expert. After the participants have passed a mandatory e-learning module test, they can register for one of five different practice sessions. These individualized on-site trainings are proposed by over 20 selected leading in vitro fertilization (IVF) centers in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Australia and last for one week.

The goal of the Global Fertility Academy is to share the experience of practicing fertility specialists to train physicians, researchers and fertility center staff in the theory, application and implementation of state-of-the art methods in the treatment of infertility, said Dr. Antonio Pellicer, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Valencia, Spain, and one of the Academy's faculty members. This will be a valuable tool to provide the next generation of fertility professionals with the skills and excellence required to meet the needs of our patients.

The launch of the Global Fertility Academy, a unique program for medical education and sharing excellence, demonstrates that Merck Serono is committed to remain the leader in the fertility field, said Dr. Frank Weber, Merck Serono's Chief Medical Officer. By offering services beyond our well-established pharmaceutical products for the treatment of infertility, we want to improve the success rate of current treatment methods, hoping to increase the number of babies born.

The e-learning modules of the Global Fertility Academy have been submitted for continuing medical education (CME) accreditation with the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME). The first module, entitled Female Infertility Diagnosis and Management (expert: Prof. A. Pellicer, Valencia, Spain) is already available; all further modules will be online by the end of the first quarter 2010. More information on scope and content of the Global Fertility Academy as well as on registration requirements and fees can be found on

About Merck Serono and Fertility

Merck Serono is the world leader in fertility treatments. The company's vision is to develop and provide innovative, easy-to-use products and devices, as well as patient care support services, to help infertile couples at every stage of the reproductive cycle: from follicular development to early pregnancy.

A pioneer in fertility treatments, Merck Serono is the only company to offer a full portfolio of fertility drugs for every stage of the reproductive cycle and recombinant versions of the three hormones needed to treat infertility: GONAL-f(R) FbM (follitropin alfa) to stimulate the ovaries and produce eggs; Luveris(R) (lutropin alfa), to stimulate follicular development in women who are profoundly LH deficient; PergoverisTM (follitropin alfa/lutropin alfa) to stimulate follicular development in women with severe LH and FSH deficiency; Cetrotide(R) (cetrorelix acetate) to prevent a premature ovulation; Ovitrelle(R) (choriogonadotropin alfa), to help follicles mature and release eggs; and Crinone(R) (progesterone gel), to help establish and maintain a pregnancy. With a portfolio of highly effective drugs, Merck Serono offers physicians the ability to tailor treatments to individual patients.

About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the division for innovative prescription pharmaceuticals of Merck, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets innovative small molecules and biopharmaceuticals to help patients with unmet medical needs. Its North American business operates in the United States and Canada as EMD Serono.

Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux(R), cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R), interferon beta-1a), infertility (Gonal-f(R), follitropin alpha), endocrine and metabolic disorders (Saizen(R) and Serostim(R), somatropin), (Kuvan(R), sapropterin dihydrochloride) as well as cardiometabolic diseases (Glucophage(R), metformin), (Concor(R), bisoprolol), (Euthyrox(R), levothyroxine). Not all products are available in all markets.

With an annual RD expenditure of around EUR 1bn, Merck Serono is committed to growing its business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as new areas potentially arising out of research and development in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of EUR 7.6 billion in 2008, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by 32,700 employees in 60 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

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(1) The Global Fertility Academy is supported by Merck Serono, and provided by Juwi MacMillan Group GmbH, an internationally operating healthcare agency specializing in medical education and communication technologies.

Media Relations : Merck Serono, Tel.: +41-22-414-36-00, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland.