Welcome to the Autumn issue of O&G Magazine. The theme for this issue is Reproductive Health, focusing on fertility. During the 2020 pandemic there was a lot of discussion as to whether birth rates would increase or decrease. Human fertility is affected by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. For most (admittedly not all), the desire to have children manifests at some point in their lives but control of fertility is limited. The authors explore male and female fertility factors, assisted reproductive technologies, access to fertility investigations and care, and the topic that I believe will dominate reproductive medicine in the future, carrier screening and prenatal genetic diagnosis. Good reading that’s relevant to practice for anyone involved in women’s healthcare.
We closed the door on 2020 in the hope that summer would bring rest and relaxation and the new year would be different. Alas, the pandemic continues to worsen and we look ahead with uncertainty and trepidation. The vaccine is promising, and the human spirit is ever hopeful but it’s also appropriate to acknowledge the crushing effect of COVID-19 on our personal and professional lives. The lack of in-person contact, the restrictions on movement and the inability to share life experiences with family and friends creates anxiety, sadness, anger and resentment. There are different ways that I could write this message. I could fill it with cheerful thoughts, rationalisations, expressions like ‘it’s not that bad in Australia and New Zealand’ but I think that would be unfair. It would fail to acknowledge that our emotional response doesn’t require a justification and that happiness and sadness are relative and subjective. It wasn’t a good year!
In my life, 2020 meant no travel, not meeting people, endless Zoom meetings and no break. One just fell into a pattern of working every day. It’s only now dawned on me how reliant we are on the distractions of life. Going to a movie, eating at a restaurant, planning a holiday or going out with friends. These things give us our rhythm, interspersing work with play, adding variation to our lives. One thing about 2020 was that it was monotonous. With the exception of moments of political upheaval (and even that became predictable!), each day seemed to blend into the next, all of us on COVID numbers watch.
Each of us has been impacted. To all of you who have experienced hardship, anxiety, illness, separation from friends and family, and impacts on your personal and professional lives, I take this opportunity to express my genuine sympathy and send you my best wishes for a better year ahead.
The College has much to look forward to this year. The plans have been finalised for the refurbishment of 1 Bowen Crescent, our new College home, and we hope to move in during June. The new training year has begun, and I’ve enjoyed ‘meeting’ the first-year trainees over Zoom. If you need inspiration, talk to a trainee! Their zest and enthusiasm is infectious. RANZCOG will continue our work in areas of mentorship, wellbeing and engagement with consumers. Exams will continue online, reflecting the extraordinary adaption to that format in 2020. The pandemic may have impacted us, but we’re determined to maintain business as usual and strive to deliver the best guidance and support to our members and the community. What we will build on is the commitment of our members and staff. 2020 saw an unprecedented level of engagement with the College. Please get in touch. It’s your College and we value you and your contribution.