More than 1,700 fertility specialists from 50 countries attended the 9th Congress of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE 2019) in Hong Kong to explore the latest advances in scientific research and clinical care of people experiencing infertility.

It has been one of the most influential meetings on assisted reproduction ever presented in the Asia Pacific region that is home to about 60 per cent of the world’s population.

ASPIRE President, Professor Budi Wiweko, a leader in the advancement of IVF and associated technologies in the region, said outcomes from the congress would empower the region and help shape the future of assisted conception throughout the world.

People attending the congress at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre included scientists, clinicians, embryologists, nurses and fertility counsellors to discuss and dissect future aspects of reproductive medicine.

One in six couples throughout the world experience infertility, which is defined as the failure to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse, or the inability to carry pregnancies to a live birth. The causes of infertility are equally shared between male and female partners.

The World Health Organisation has forecast that infertility will become the third most serious condition after cancer and cardiovascular diseases in the 21st century.

Delegates at the ASPIRE 2019 Congress came from across the Asia Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, Middle East, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America and Canada.

Professor Wiweko said ASPIRE’s widening scientific exchange with leaders in reproductive medicine in other countries would be vital in addressing a disturbing decline in infertility rates across the world, and especially in the Asia Pacific region.

There are many complex factors contributing to this trend including couples marrying later in life, growing urbanisation and associated stress levels, work pressures and environmental conditions.

“ASPIRE represents experts in assisted reproduction in over 20 countries in the region, and it is dedicated to advancing competencies in this field of science and medicine while improving access to and quality of services for people striving to achieve parenthood,” Professor Wiweko said.

“It is just over 40 years ago that the first IVF baby was born and since this breakthrough a further eight million babies have been born as a result of this technology.

“Outstanding achievements in assisted reproductive technology are helping couples to achieve their dream of parenthood. But despite the enormous advances, there are challenges ahead.

“Many issues relating to oocytes, sperm, embryos and endometrial receptivity are still shrouded in mystery. That is why meetings such as the ASPIRE Congress in Hong Kong are essential to address the cutting edge of reproductive medicine.

“Beyond this congress, ASPIRE has successfully launched master classes throughout the region to raise awareness and understanding of options for infertility treatment, and we have developed special interest groups in the fields of embryology, andrology, endometriosis, reproductive surgery, embryo implantation and endometrial receptivity.

“ASPIRE also collaborates closely with other major international organisations including the European of Society of Human Reproduction (ESHRE), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Asia and Oceania Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (AOFOG) and the Fertility Society of Australia.

“It is just eleven years since ASPIRE was established and we can look forward to an exciting future in improving access to assisted reproduction and quality treatment and care on people experiencing infertility.”

For further information, go to the Congress website

To arrange an interview with Professor Budi Wiweko, please contact Trevor Gill, ASPIRE 2019 Congress Media Relations on 0418 821948 or by e-mail at