About this Research Topic
Reproductive health is crucial to successful conception, pregnancy and delivery. It is also a key determinant of wellbeing in adulthood. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the physiological processes involved in male and female reproduction are poorly understood with rates of infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth and preterm birth remaining relatively unchanged in recent decades. The combination of rapid developments and clinical translation in assisted reproductive technologies has undoubtedly transformed the lives of previously childless couples. However, a considerable proportion of infertile cases have no identifiable cause but may be attributed to our lack of insight into mechanisms that underlie endometrial function, follicle recruitment, sperm-ovum interactions and other essential facets of reproduction. At the opposite end of the spectrum, early diagnosis, prevention and cure of several pregnancy-specific disorders is limited or non-existent. For example, there is no treatment for stopping preterm labour effectively, treating pre-eclampsia or overcoming fetal growth restriction. Annually, preterm delivery accounts for 15 million babies born before they are 'ready'.
We propose a new journal in the 'Frontiers' range which will bring together the diversity of topics within the scope of reproduction. This topic of 'reproductive health' will be a fusion of new aspects such as epigenetics, mechanisms of infection and inflammation affecting reproductive health, environmental/metabolic/nutrient/lipid modulation of conception, placental development and pregnancy progression. High profile conditions such as gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome and obesity in pregnancy pose new challenges for clinical medicine which clinicians and biomedical scientists will be better equipped to treat and manage as our understanding of these disorders improves through research and dissemination.
The research topic will also explore the basis and utility of biomarkers in early detection and pathways underlying various reproductive disease as well as evaluation of potential new therapeutics. Advances in new generation sequencing techniques combined with bioinformatics and data mining to unravel the complex regulatory control of mechanisms at a genomic level will feature alongside traditional biomedical research. We will also broaden the theme to place reproductive health in a more global context but taking account of local factors. For example, the aetiology of preterm birth in the developing world has a significantly greater component that results from infection. An aim of the journal will be to raise international awareness of population-specific issues by inviting a unique perspective on reproductive health from academics actively engaged in these areas of research. Articles covering disciplines such as health economics, bioethics, health education will also be encouraged to provide a societal perspective.
Reproductive health impacts on all strands of society. Most journals covering this topic have limited scope focussing on either pregnancy or reproductive medicine, clinical or bench-based research. Our aim is to provide a journal presenting cutting-edge research and authoritative reviews, broad in scope in all aspects of reproductive biomedicine. We welcome contributions from leaders in their field as well as less-established academics but carrying out robust research. We are confident that there will be sufficient interest in this field for the launch of a targeted research topic.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.