Accumulating evidence suggests that parental health, even before conception, may affect offspring development. Stressful environments during critical periods of growth and development that include preconception, pregnancy, and early childhood could cause long-term effects that may impact offspring's health. These environmental factors may include maternal and paternal metabolic and endocrine health, exposure to endocrine disruptors, pollutants, environmental stressors and chemicals, and also the use of assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs), among others.
Periconceptional and prenatal care are crucial to improving infants' development and health and preventing adult diseases, such as diabetes, neurocognitive, and other multifactorial and complex disorders.
Although increasing attention has been given to prenatal care management in the last years, there are still disparities among nations in terms of access to healthcare and also controversial results in many aspects, and unresolved issues. In this regard, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised new questions regarding reproduction, pregnancy and childhood development care.
In particular, in Latin America, socioeconomic inequalities in primary health system access make these societies vulnerable in terms of gestational care. Moreover, although antenatal care is more accessible in developed countries, there is still a need to comprehend the impact of different environmental cues on human health and development and improve the possible medical interventions and public policy management.
To address the above-mentioned topics, the International Symposium on Reproductive Health 2021 (ISRH2021) was proposed by a group of early-career scientists from Argentina, as a free one-day symposium with different roundtable sessions, including:
-Maternal effects on pregnancy and offspring health
-ARTs effects on embryo and offspring development
-Paternal effects on fertility and offspring health
The virtual format provided a networking space between Early-Career and experienced researchers from home, anywhere in the world. This not only allowed to join experts from Latin-American and developed countries but also allowed a wider global audience to attend, including those who may not be able to travel for a face-to-face meeting. The economic barrier is a common problem in Latin America and developing countries as the low incomes affect the possibility of attending international meetings. Moreover, as ECRs are the academic members with lower salaries, they are usually the most affected. The spirit of this symposium was to create possibilities for worldwide participation at all career stages.
During the ISRH2021, each session consisted of two Senior talks of invited international researchers and two short talks of early-career researchers (ECRs), which were selected based on their abstract quality. Also, a poster session was held.
To generate different opportunities for interaction between Senior and ECRs, several short talks were also held, followed by a debate. Among the topics discussed were "Women in Science and Gender Discrepancy", "From basic research to public policies", "ECRs Resources" and "Career Paths".
Listed below we present the abstract of the works presented at the ISRH 2021 meeting.