Infertility is a problem that affects approximately 12-15% of couples in developed countries including the United States and Canada, and a significant portion of these cases are based on unknown causes (idiopathic infertility). At the same time, the need and desire for population control and family planning remain at an all-time high throughout the world and represent priorities in the US and Canada. In addition, diseases of the reproductive systems (e.g., ovarian, cervical, uterine, testicular or prostate cancer, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and many others) impose a large burden on the US healthcare system. Taken together, these considerations impact a large proportion of the population in North America and therefore translate into very significant financial, political and cultural priorities in this region. Enhanced knowledge of the reproductive systems in general, and specific aspects of these systems including the gonads (testes and ovaries), the germ cells (spermatogenic and oogenic), the male and female reproductive tracts, and early embryos, represent the most promising avenue to the discovery of breakthroughs that will yield novel solutions to infertility or reproductive system diseases, or toward the development of novel methods of contraception. The new Gordon Research Conference on Mammalian Reproduction is designed to bring together experts in basic and translational research in multiple areas of reproductive biology and reproductive medicine. Topics to be discussed will include fate determination and development of reproductive tissues, epigenetic programming and reproduction, stem cells and reproduction, environmental effects on reproductive functions, pregnancy and par tuition, infertility and contraception, male reproductive tract, genomics and systems approaches to reproduction, and the founders'forum featuring scientists who have made lasting contributions to the field of reproductive biology/medicine.
This new GRC will feature scientific sessions on cutting-edge topics in the field of Mammalian Reproduction and will provide a unique forum for exchange between scientists interested in the basic biology of the reproductive system and scientists and clinicians interested in clinically relevant aspects of these systems. In this way, this GRC will facilitate a 'bench-to-bedside'exchange that will allow clinical scientists to learn about the mos recent advances in basic research relevant to the male and female reproductive systems, and for basic scientists to learn more about the most pressing health related challenges for which further research is needed to address compelling clinical conditions involving reproductive function. Thus, this conference will address a unique and critically important need for scientific exchange and as anyone who has attended a GRC knows, these conferences provide a unique atmosphere that fosters significant and novel opportunities for interactions among senior and junior members of the field, thus contributing to the career development of all who attend.