Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Fertility in the 21st Century

Credit: Clicknique/iStockphoto

Credit: Clicknique/iStockphoto

By Rebecca Robker & Eileen McLaughlin

Fertility is a diverse field of research that encompasses male and female infertility, pregnancy complications, and environmental and lifestyle influences that can affect the reproductive health not only of future generations but also our native wildlife.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In Australia today, one in six couples experiences infertility and typically one child in every classroom was conceived by medically assisted reproduction technologies like IVF. Conversely, an estimated 25% of all pregnancies are electively terminated. Meanwhile, the search for improved contraceptives continues, including contraceptives for men. These prevalent yet polar opposite fertility issues illustrate that reproduction sits squarely at the forefront of health challenges in Australia.

These and other issues are highlighted in this month’s edition of Australasian Science. Our expert contributors are each members of the Society for Reproductive Biology, Australia’s professional network of reproductive biologists and biomedical scientists.

This issue will outline the latest research examining how a woman’s number of eggs is determined so that future fertility can be better predicted, and reveal emerging data that men who experience infertility are also more likely to die younger. Meanwhile, pluripotent stem cells could revolutionise regenerative medicine and eliminate genetic diseases if we can fully understand and safely utilise their potential clinically.

Pregnancy complications are a major concern for prospective parents. However, new algorithms could predict a woman’s chance of developing life-threatening pre-eclampsia, and new drugs may be on...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.