The placenta is the very first organ each one of us develops as we began life in the womb. It works to sustain the growing baby right through pregnancy – acting as a lung and gut to absorb oxygen and nutrients from mum’s blood, a kidney excreting fetal wastes, and an important endocrine organ secreting hormones that change mum’s entire body to allow her to support a growing baby. This range of important roles makes the placenta one of the most fascinating organs we ever have. However, it also remains one of the least understood. This is problematic, as this placental life-support system malfunctions in around 1 in 10 pregnancies, leading to pregnancy disorders such as recurrent miscarriage, pre-eclampsia (dangerously high maternal blood pressure), fetal growth restriction (small babies), and stillbirth.
The International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA) is the international body bringing together researchers from around the globe who are passionate about working to understand the placenta in health and disease so we can give every baby a healthy start to life. IFPA is an international “umbrella” organization comprised of four member societies; the European Placenta Group (EPG), the Placenta Association of the Americas (PAA), the Japanese Placenta Association (JPA) and the Australian New Zealand Placental Research Association (ANZPRA).
IFPA supports and promotes excellence in the field of placental and pregnancy research via its annual 3-4 day meeting. This meeting brings together clinicians and scientists of all career levels from our member societies across the globe to provide a melting pot of ideas, tools and knowledge. People are central to the success of IFPA, which strives to create an interactive atmosphere conducive to frank yet amicable exchange and network development. Importance is also placed on providing inclusive opportunities to enable the development of early career researchers – the future of pregnancy research.
The International Federation of Placenta Associations is comprised of four placental research organisations from different regions around the world.
Australian & New Zealand Placental Research Association (ANZPRA)
Founded in 1990, this group encompasses Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
Japan Placenta Association (JPA)
This organization is the regional group for Japan, founded in 1988.
Placenta Association of the Americas (PAA)
In 2001 the PAA was set up to include North America, Central America and South America. It works closely with the Latin America Society for Maternal-Fetal Interaction and Placenta (SLIMP)
IFPA was set up to coordinate between these regional groups, primarily to assist in organizing research conferences around the world. These meetings are designed to gather placental researchers together to present their data, to discuss their research and to develop collaborative ties.
These meetings rotate between the groups to allow regular access to an international meeting in each of these areas. Thus our meetings over the last few years have been: 2007 Kingston, Ontario, Canada (PAA), 2008 Seggau, Austria (EPG), 2009 Adelaide, Australia (ANZPRA), 2010 Santiago, Chile (PAA), 2011 Geilo, Norway (EPG), 2012 Hiroshima, Japan (JPG), 2013 Whistler, British Columbia, Canada (PAA), 2014 Paris, France (EPG), 2015 Brisbane, Australia (ANZPRA), 2016 Portland, Oregon, USA (PAA), 2017 Manchester, England (EPG), 2018 Tokyo, Japan (JPG), 2019 Buenos Aires, Argentina (PAA).
The abstracts of our meetings are published in the Elsevier journal PLACENTA, while the major proceedings are published in the annual issue of TROPHOBLAST RESEARCH which is jointly owned by IFPA and Elsevier. We have a cooperative arrangement with the Elsevier journal PLACENTA, allowing our membership, through the IFPA Executive, to select the editors of PLACENTA. We also select the editor of TROPHOBLAST RESEARCH.