50 years ago, the uterus was a little understood organ, beyond that it was where the embryo attached, the placenta was formed and the fetus nurtured until birth. Most information available related to the considerable differences in uterine type between species, the morphology, particularly of the endometrium, and its responsiveness to ovarian hormones resulting in cyclical tissue remodelling in all species and menstruation in women. Since the 1980’s, the cyclical molecular and cellular changes in the endometrium, their importance for establishment of healthy pregnancy in all species, and the particular differences between species have become better understood. Australian scientists have been world leaders in research in marsupial and human endometrial function, and contributed to the field of ruminant uterine function. In reproductive medicine, endometrial dysfunction is responsible for major women’s health issues, including endometriosis and abnormal uterine bleeding, and contributes significantly to infertility. Yet this complex tissue has been largely ignored by the IVF community and by funding bodies. Looking ahead, further focused investigation of endometrial function offers strong potential for translational outcomes for conservation, food production and women’s health.