Dr. Londra takes part in The Sixth Ovarian Club International Congress Held in Barcelona
Drawing on expertise from around the world, the Ovarian Club VI Meeting was a unique gathering of scientists, clinicians and embryologists who have a common interest in how oocytes, early embryos and the implantation process itself derive energy for development. The aim of the meeting was to evaluate and discuss the current state of knowledge on oocyte and early-embryo metabolisms, and the effect of maternal nutrition on adaptive embryo responses that lead to disease.
Among the various topics presented at the meeting I was most impressed with the presentations on the importance of the maternal environment. What do we mean when we say ‘maternal environment’? Simply put, the general health of the mother when the oocyte is preparing for fertilization. This is also called ‘folliculogenesis’. It is a time when we are usually prescribing medications to make the follicles grow and produce a fertile egg. But the ‘maternal environment’ can also refer to the uterus at the time of implantation. There is a lot of research showing how health issues like obesity are literally ‘toxic’ for the eggs and detrimental for normal implantation. Some of my patients have heard me say ‘the ovaries and the uterus are not isolated entities in the body’. I try to emphasize to my patients that there are other influences outside the infertility medications that have an impact on the chances of getting pregnant, therefore even a healthy weight can be a treatment in itself for a lot of women!
Another important patient care topic was polycystic ovary syndrome, with new insights into how the imbalance in the hormonal environment can disrupt the reproductive process during maturation of the egg, the embryo development and the pregnancy outcome. This was a great opportunity to spend time with some of the best researchers and most experienced practitioners in the world. Following the meeting, I feel even more energized and better equipped to help patients build families in Ohio!