The World Congress of Controversies in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility (COGI) was created, developed and funded by Professor Zeev Shoham and Professor Zion Ben-Rafael, world-renowned experts in the field of gynecology. Their idea was born of the understanding that the field of obstetrics and gynecology has witnessed enormous expansion in clinical and basic information, as well as tremendous growth in field-related technology. This growth created a greater need to discuss and debate the many controversial issues that have subsequently arisen, with the aim of reaching real and agreed-upon conclusions to some of these controversies via evidence-based medicine. COGI was designed to provide a highly effective forum for discussing and debating these heretofore unresolved controversies, by allowing prominent speakers ample time to present their for and against arguments. In the time remaining, participants have the opportunity to propose their ideas and provide valuable feedback on the topic at hand.
The first congress took place in 1999 in Prague with the participation of 1,200 delegates. Three parallel sessions were conducted, in which each of the relevant sub-disciplines was discussed, for e.g.: in the Gynecology session, contraception, menopause and surgical procedures were discussed; during the Obstetrics session speakers and participants looked at the entire field of Maternal Fetal Medicine and Reproductive Medicine including the then newly implemented various technologies. The congress was endorsed by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the European Society of Contraception (ESC), the European Society for Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation (ESGOI), the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), the European Society for Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO), the International Federation of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (FIGIJ), the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), and the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (ESGE).
Following the first congress’ great success, Paris was chosen as the next host city. The congress center at CNIT Paris La Défense welcomed 1,350 delegates to the second COGI congress in 2001. During the second congress the major topics discussed were:
Diagnosis and surgical procedures
The hormonal continuum benefits for women from menarche to menopause
Ovulation induction and insemination
IVF - Can we increase the success rate?
Menopausal health - treatment
The future of global endometrial ablation technology today
Menopause and HRT
Cesarean section - mode of delivery
Second trimester miscarriage - diagnosis of cervical incompetence
Fertility preserving in gyneco-oncology
Laparoscopic and advanced procedures
Progress in hysteroscopy
The third COGI congress took place in a traumatized, post-9/11 Washington, DC in 2002, where just 250 delegates participated as a result. The second congress to be held in the USA took place in Las Vegas in 2004, with 350 participants.
In 2003, the COGI congress was organized in Berlin. Unfortunately, this took place while in the Asia Pacific region SARS raged, preventing many of the delegates from the region from attending the congress in Berlin. Professor Shoham then raised the idea of bringing COGI to Asia, and together with the Royal Thai Colleague of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor Kamheang Chaturachinda, who was president of the society at the time, the congress was held in Bangkok in 2004. This was the beginning of a very fruitful cooperation in the region, as the congress was very well received and attended by 1,300 participants.
The seventh congress took place in Athens, Greece. At this congress there were 87 invited speakers and 1,700 participants. COGI was, at this point, already established as an outstanding and comprehensive congress dealing with the major issues in the field using evidence-based discussion and debates.
At this point a decision was made to change PCOs and ComtecMed was chosen as COGI’s partner, and has served as COGI’s core PCO since 2005.
The first COGI congress organized by ComtecMed took place in Shanghai, China in 2007. Professor Shoham invited Professor Soo Keat Khoo, President of the Asia Pacific Council of Contraception (APCOC), to hold a one day meeting of his society during COGI. This initiative provided exceptional scientific value to the congress’ program and the number of participates increased exponentially to 1,700.
In 2008, COGI was again held in Paris, and Professor Shoham invited world-renowned Professor Robert Edwards to serve as the Honorary President of the congress and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the birth of Louise Brown, the first IVF baby. This miraculous event was pioneered by Professor Edwards and the late Professor Patrick Steptoe, and this procedure, for which Prof. Edwards received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2010, heralded a major breakthrough in medicine which thousands of doctors have used since to help millions of childless families. Since the birth of Louise Brown, on July 25, 1978, some four million babies worldwide have been conceived by mixing eggs and sperm outside the body and returning the embryo to the womb to resume the normal development. The procedure overcomes many previously untreatable causes of infertility and is used in three percent of all live births in developed countries. Professor Shoham invited the Serono Symposia International Foundation to organize a one-day symposium at COGI 2008 entitled “New Technology in Reproductive Medicine”. In addition, the congress was designed to serve as an “umbrella” event for the ever-growing number of sub-disciplines in the field, i.e., Infertility, Perinatology, Menopause, Endoscopy, Gynecology, Family Planning, Urogynecology, and Adolescent-Gynecology, among others.
During 2008, Professor Shoham established The Academy for Clinical Debates and Controversies in Medicine (ACDCM) with Professor Itamar Raz as the President of the Academy and Professor Shoham as its Secretary. All future COGI congresses are to be held under the auspices of the Academy.
This year COGI took place in Berlin with the steadily growing number of participants reaching an all-time high of 1,940. It is now evident that COGI is a milestone event in the field of obstetrics, gynecology and perinatology.
After COGI 2010 Professor Ben-Rafael decided to leave the organization to pursue other endeavors.
Under the auspices of ACDCM ComtecMed is now in the process of organizing the next COGI congress which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand from November 24 - 27, 2011. Prof. Moshe Hod, a prominent perinatologist and Dr. Robert Fischer, a prominent physician in the field of Reproductive Medicine, along with the president of the Royal Thai College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, have joined the Organizing Committee of COGI 2011. COGI’s concept of the congress has been somewhat modified, as the focus will be on reaching consensus resulting from the debates.
Below is a list of COGI congresses since 1999.