The term “fertility awareness” has been long associated with a specific method or specific methods of family planning. Within the context of reproductive health and fertility issues we see fertility awareness as a level of knowledge and awareness of society and its various subgroups on the topic of human reproduction system and life cycle, as well as the possible threats to reproductive health and the ways to protect it throughout the stages of life. As the birth rates have been continuously falling throughout Europe and the number of European citizens with fertility issues has increased during the last 50 years, fertility and infertility have been put into the spotlight for scientists, policy-makers, non-government organizations and other stakeholders. It is obvious and of crucial importance that the level of fertility awareness should be increased among all society groups. Furthermore when we compare the awareness between teenage girls and teenage boys, the boys’ knowledge about girls’ fertility and biology is alarmingly poor.
Fertility Europe, as an umbrella association, encompassing 25 national patient associations, people with fertility issues in Europe, is profoundly concerned and is determined to take action. Our member associations have voted for this topic as one of the most important for them and some of them are already implementing fertility awareness projects on a national level. Fertility Europe has designed a draft for a pilot project on fertility awareness in partnership with ESHRE.
- Education: We seek to increase the level of fertility awareness among teenagers aged 15-18. Human fertility cannot be taken for granted and people should be aware of this at any life stage. Fertility Europe strongly believes that fertility awareness campaigns should start at early adolescent age in school. The well-informed and educated teenagers will later become adults with sufficient knowledge and awareness regarding their reproductive health, the hazards and constraints to their fertility, the ways to protect and preserve their fertility and to plan their fertility lifecycle.
- Advocacy: Fertility awareness in school should be recognized as a matter of highest importance by the national and EU authorities. One of the main goals of this project is to provide reliable information on the levels of fertility awareness among young people in Europe and thus to help us advocate for actions on EU and national levels.
- We aim to digitally reach teenagers aged 15-18 in European countries to check their knowledge of fertility and to raise their awareness level. Initially, we foresee to implement the project in 3 EU countries, where the national patient associations are strong and willing to collaborate.
- We are hoping to extend the project to more European countries in the next phase of the project.