Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine

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Tomohiko Ichikawa, Chairperson of the Executive Board

Message from the newly appointed Chairperson of the Executive Board

June 2020

The field of reproductive medicine is currently at a critical turning point, both domestically and around the world. Having been appointed as Chair of the Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine with brilliant tradition at this important juncture, I recognize what a heavy responsibility this is and am eager to do my very best to develop this society into one that is satisfying for all.

Our country has made major contributions to modern reproductive medicine. Those contributions include Dr. Kyusaku Ogino’s research on human ovulation in early 20th century, Dr. Ryuzo Yanagimachi’s research on fertilization after WWII, and recent basic studies on creating eggs and sperms from iPS cells. In clinical practice, our country has the outstanding number of assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment cycles in the world, and has generated various technological advances, including leading the world in promoting the use of single embryo transfer to reduce the incidence of multiple pregnancies. As such, our country has been a world leader in reproductive medicine, and it is within such an environment that the Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine (formerly the Japan Society for Fertility and Sterility) was established and developed. This society has a long history, with the first academic meeting taking place in 1956. This is on par with other societies around the world, with IFA, predecessor to IFFS, having had its first meeting in 1953 and ASRM in 1947. This shows just how early our predecessors recognized the importance of society activities and cooperated to take action. Throughout its long history, this society has guided Japanese reproductive medicine in the right direction through the unrelenting effort of our predecessors, enhancing and developing the field in terms of both quality and quantity. However, when we look at the circumstances surrounding reproductive medicine in recent years, new issues have risen that are blocking our path toward further development. Those issues include the deterioration of the reproductive medicine research environment and a declining researcher population, decline in the reproductive age population and number of in-vitro fertilization cycles, and confusion in the clinical field due to the emergence of new ethical problems. We must overcome these issues for the sake of maintaining the fine reputation of this society built by our predecessors, developing the field of reproductive medicine, and most of all, providing the best medical service to our patients.

I believe the key challenges we should focus on now are: (1) stabilization of society management, (2) improving education and our reproductive medical worker certification system, (3) promoting research, (4) addressing internationalization, (5) strengthening our ties to the community. In terms of our society management, we have decided to establish a new administrative office under direct control of the society. Our aim is to improve the efficiency of administrative functions, stabilize our financials, and build an organization capable of responding flexibly and swiftly to important issues. Concerning our reproductive medical worker certification system, we plan to introduce web seminars and create useful, quality online educational resources for our general members. The wave of digitalization is accelerating in our world. We intend to actively introduce this trend into our society and utilize it for various society activities, especially in education. The academic incentive program has previously been effective in promoting research and we intend to maintain this program moving forward. In addition, with the increasing need for collaborative research across facilities, we hope to harness the strengths of the society by supporting partnerships between members. In the future, we also hope to launch new society-led research projects. In terms of internationalization, it is important that we continue developing organic partnerships with overseas societies. Through these partnerships, we hope to enhance our nation’s ability to generate ideas and contribute to the development of reproductive medicine through international cooperation. As far as our ties to the community, it is important that we, as a responsible organization representing Japanese reproductive medicine, provide appropriate communications to the citizens of this country, as well as actively engaging in community outreach. As a society that seeks to work in tandem with the wider public, we hope Japanese citizens will identify with and place trust in the society even more in the future.

Lastly, what is most crucial for the development of the society is active participation in society activities by many members. By sharing wisdom and cooperating between members of diverse backgrounds such as occupation, the facility and capacity in which each member works, geographical area, and specialization, we can develop the field of reproductive medicine greatly through society activities. We intend to build a framework that will allow many members, both young and experienced, to enjoy and engage in daily society activities, thereby producing academic or societal results. Let us all join together in raising the academic and medical standards of Japanese reproductive medicine, for patients. As the representative of this society I will do my very best in serving our members. I hope our members will join me in thinking about what we can do to improve the society. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

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