History of the Society

The International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis was founded in 1996 and is derived from the meetings of the International Congresses on Early Prenatal Diagnosis.

The original International Congresses on Early Prenatal Diagnosis were convened in the United Kingdom with the purpose of serving as an exchange for the then evolving procedure of chorionic villus sampling. This initial goal expanded in response to the need of the international scientific community for focused communication in the discipline of Prenatal Diagnosis. In 1988 Dr. Aris Antsaklis hosted the Fourth Congress, an expanded and well-attended meeting in Athens, Greece. This was followed by other highly successful meetings, such as the ones in Prague (1990, hosted by Milan Macek), in Milan (1992, hosted by Bruno Brambati), and in Jerusalem (1994, hosted by Haim Zakut).

With its founding in 1996, ISPD began organizing the International Conference on Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy, held every two years through 2012 and annually from 2013 on.

Throughout the early Congresses, participants prided themselves on not being a formally codified gathering only for the purpose of scientific exchange.  Although this formula was relatively successful in the past, it increasingly became evident that lack of a formal organisation hampered local organisers. In 1994 at the Jerusalem Congress, it was decided to establish formally an International Society. The goal continued to be fostering international exchange in prenatal genetic diagnosis through governance of a society that was international and multidisciplinary democratic in nature.

The initial officers were selected by the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Goa Congress and directed to proceed with its organisation. These officers were Joe Leigh Simpson (USA), President; Haim Zakut (Israel), Secretary; Henri Goldstein (Denmark), Treasurer. Initial Board members were Bruno Brambati (Italy), Malcolm Ferguson-Smith (UK), Enrique Gadow.

With support from the March of Dimes in the United States, by-laws and documentation were prepared and the Society formally registered in the United States (Illinois) in 1996.  The Board of Directors holds monthly teleconferences, in addition to meeting in person at the now annual International Conference.

In 2005, ISPD contracted with its association management company, Custom Management Group, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. This provided the Society with an Executive Director, a Program Director, a Director of Website Services, a Manager of Membership Services and customer support services via telephone and e-mail. Please see the Contact page for address, phone and e-mail information.

In 2012, ISPD opened membership to all those who were prior members of the International Prenatal Screening Group, which gave them automatic membership in our Prenatal Screening Specialty Interest Group (SIG). ISPD incorporated their popular newsletter into the SIG section of the ISPD owned newsletter, Global Updates, that is published online six times per year.

The Society has grown to more than 500 professionals from multiple disciplines such as prenatal and perinatal care, medical genetics, basic and translational science, genetic counseling, laboratory management, fetal therapy, ultrasonography, and ethics. While we engage with all areas relevant to prenatal diagnosis and therapy, we have a unique focus and expertise on reproductive and prenatal genetic screening and how this aspect of care integrates with other disciplines. ISPD's official journal, Prenatal Diagnosis , is peer-reviewed and has a 3+ impact factor. Membership in ISPD  is available for medical professionals, genetic counselors, allied health professionals, and trainees.