History of Advances in Infertility Treatment Meeting

September 16, 2006

OBGYN.net Conference CoverageAdvances in Infertility, January 2002

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Hans van der Slikke, MD, PhD:  “It’s 2002 and we’re in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the Advances in Infertility Treatment Conference.  Next to me is Professor Marco Filicori who is the originator of this conference.  Marco, welcome again.”

Professor Marco Filicori:  “Thank you.” 

Hans van der Slikke, MD, PhD:  “You told me it’s already the fifth conference in this series.  How did you get the idea of organizing this kind of conference?” 

Professor Marco Filicori:  “This is the fifth one and we got started almost ten years ago at the end of 1992, beginning of 1993, and at that time as now we were very interested in the topic of ovulation induction.  I realized that there hadn’t been a conference specifically devoted to ovulation induction for over a decade.  I was in touch with Ferring; we were doing some research and collaboration in the area of the use of pulsatile GnRH for managing ovulatory dysfunctions so I suggested to the company that this could be an interesting topic for a conference at that time.  Ferring was beginning to enter the area of gonadotrophins for the treatment on ovulation and for ovulation induction so I thought it would be a good opportunity for the company to raise these issues and have them discussed very scientifically.  We decided Florida could be a good location and we got started with the first conference which was held in 1994 in Palm Beach.” 

Hans van der Slikke, MD, PhD:  “What was on the program for the first conference?” 

Professor Marco Filicori:  “It was on ovulation induction so the whole meeting was about ovulation induction and it was so successful that Ferring decided to make it a regular appointment for doctors and scientists interested in infertility, reproductive medicine, and reproductive endocrinology.  We went on and the next meeting was held in 1996 in Marco Island, which is on the west coast of Florida and that meeting was devoted to the ovary and several aspects such as polycystic ovary syndrome.  We went from the west to the east and then to the west because the next one was in Boca Raton which is not very far away from where we are now and then Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.” 

Hans van der Slikke, MD, PhD:  “Ovulation induction, as you said, is the main topic throughout the years but is there another trend you can see that maybe now it’s more general on infertility treatment?” 

Professor Marco Filicori:  “We try to maintain these meetings as an update for doctors and scientists interested in reproductive medicine in general.  For instance, the meeting we had in Boca Raton in 1998 there was a lot of management of mainly infertility because at that time new techniques such as ICSI - intracytoplasmic sperm injection was really coming to fruition throughout the centers.  It was not an experimental technique any longer and it was being applied by many centers all over the world so a lot of that meeting was devoted to male infertility.  The last meeting we had in 2000 was on endocrine aspects of reproduction, which was also something that is not discussed extensively in meetings.  I think we try to sort of keep the topics updated and see what’s really most relevant and try to cover them with lectures that are rather extensive in scope that people can follow.  So doctors can really get information that could be useful for their practice and for their research and they bring it back and apply it in their own place.” 

Hans van der Slikke, MD, PhD:  “What do you think are the most important advances of these last two years?" 

Professor Marco Filicori:  “I think genetics is becoming quite an important area and topic, in fact, at this meeting we have several presentations devoted to genetic aspects of human reproduction.  I think that’s another very important topic although still not used extensively because of the technical limitations of the possibility of diagnosing disease before the embryos are replaced so that you can diagnose certain genetic disorders and then select out the unaffected embryos and thus avoid the transmission of a disease.  I think ovulation induction remains the key topic and I think that many of the advances that have been presented at this meeting have the potential of very profoundly changing the way that doctors do ovulation induction, particularly, for assisted reproduction.” 

Hans van der Slikke, MD, PhD:  “In the last two years we now have very important new drugs and we know a lot more about the role of LH in ovulation and yet today we had a session about ovulation induction where this was one of the items that was stressed.” 

Professor Marco Filicori:  “I think that new drugs and also new ways of giving the currently available drugs are a two tiers approach.  I think that will be applied and it will be very interesting to see the results once these techniques and new drugs are applied on a wide scale.” 

Hans van der Slikke, MD, PhD:  “Can you look ahead a little bit to about 2004 about topics that could be important at that time?” 

Professor Marco Filicori:  “No, we haven’t started yet.  We try to stay abreast so we usually plan on the scientific program about a year and a half before the meeting is actually held so that we can incorporate advances that have come up as close as possible to the meeting.  Of course you cannot do that because you want to have the program available with a certain advance notice but clearly for invited speakers we want to have the best speakers available.  Part of the success of this meeting and maybe one of the key reasons for the success is that we always insist upon having the best scientists who publish the best research in a specific field.  I think this is appreciated because people realize that they really can get very useful and high quality scientific information at this meeting.” 

Hans van der Slikke, MD, PhD:  “Thank you very much for this interview, it was very exciting.” 

Professor Marco Filicori:  “Thank you.”