Although common public may imagine that entire scientific work is researches and experiments, sometimes scientists have to organize meetings just for discussion purposes. For example, recently scientists gathered at the University of Adelaide in order to set priorities for further fertility research. According to this highly experienced multidisciplinary team of health thinkers, optimal preconception diet and societal barriers to fertility are one of the most important directions for future reproductive health studies.
Team consisted of 33 members from different fields – clinicians, health practitioners, researchers and government representatives was gathered in order to assess current fertility research situation. It is important to identify problems and possible challenges in order for the entire science community to work effectively.
Group also tried to identify questions and additional information needed by academics studying reproductive health. The most important task was to identify key directions for future research and the areas of fertility and conception that require much more attention.
Professor Ray Rodgers, who gathered this impressive group of specialists, said: “The multidisciplinary team identified topics that fell into three categories: lifestyle-related, societal and biological factors. The lifestyle factors included nutrition and diet, exercise, obesity and shift work; the societal factors included cultural and ethical issues, social disadvantage, government and educational policies; and biological factors refer to the physical states of individuals that influence fertility outcomes, which are predominately written about in academic papers and not readily accessible to the general public”.
Team recognized preconception diet and societal barriers as particularly crucial for these studies. It is said that preconception nutrition can currently be overlooked. In fact, some researches already showed that lower dietary glycaemic load and animal protein together with improved fatty acid profile and greater adherence to a Mediterranean-type dietary pattern can help couples avoid conception issues.
Mentioned societal barriers include poor access to health care system, high rates of infection, psychosocial stress, poor housing and substance abuse, all of which can cause conception issues, especially for women with lower socioeconomic situation.
This workshop is a great example how great minds have to cooperate in order to achieve better results. Now as scientists discussed needed information and priorities for future research, more productive studies can be expected.