Fertility Europe – 10 years of history

Fertility Europe is the Pan-European organisation representing patients’ associations dedicated to infertility, enabling a network for those concerned with fertility problems, patient empowerment, engaging other stakeholders and the media.

Foundation

Our history starts in 2008 when a small group of five representatives from European infertility patient associations decided it was time to form a European umbrella organization based on democratic principles. After preparations, the Pan-European cooperation was named Fertility Europe and got registered in Belgium in 2009.
The Foundation Committee was in charge until the first official election of the Executive Committee of Fertility Europe, which took place at the First Council Meeting in June 2009 in Amsterdam. The Foundation Committee members were: Geertrui De Cock as Chair (Belgium), Denisa Priadková as Vice-Chair (Slovakia), Clare Lewis-Jones (U.K.), José van der Schoor-Knijnenburg (Netherlands) and Conrad Engler (Switzerland).

Main objectives

From the very start Fertility Europe strives to be an independent, relevant and transparent association. We are dedicated to the needs and rights of those having difficulty conceiving and work according to the highest code of ethical conduct. We stand for equal, fair and save access to treatment and public education on fertility.

Member associations

2009, first annual meeting in Amsterdam. ESHRE chair dr. Luca Gianaroli came to visit us.

In 2009 Fertility Europe started with nine infertility patients associations (from Belgium, Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovak Republic, Switzerland and the UK) as effective members of the newly established democratic association. They filled out a questionnaire on the status of local fertility issues, with detailed statistics and information on regulations and the reimbursement system in their country. More (candidate-)members applied shortly after the start.
TODAY Fertility Europe is an umbrella organisation for 24 members from 22 countries.

Operations

Fertility Europe operates thanks to dozens of amazing and dedicated volunteers working in the Executive Committee, working groups (POLI- policies, COMM – communication, MORE – membership and FUND – funding) and through many other activities.

Meeting between ESHRE chairs and FE board, Barcelona 2018

From the start European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has been our main partner and supporter. We are really grateful for their support and trust in us!

To run an organization – even if it’s a voluntary one – money is needed. Our member organizations pay an annual fee, dependent on their financial capacity. And we are privileged to work with several supporting partners to help fund our projects, for which we are very thankful.

Executive Committee (2018 – 2021)

Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, Chair
Klaudija Kordic, Vice-Chair
Afroditi Alexopoulou, Treasurer
Irina Popova, Secretary
Karianne Bye, Member
Ofra Balaban, Deputy Member
Iwona Komenda, Deputy Member
All supported by Anita Fincham, Office Manager

Projects

We are proud of our projects:

– Wall of Hope

Wall of Hope, Barcelona 2018

During the annual ESHRE Congress we display materials presenting real people behind infertility (Special Families Campaign) and issues that matter to infertility patients on the ‘Wall of Hope’. This year we will be using materials from the European Fertility Week 2017 and 2018 (EFW described below) displaying reasons why fertility and infertility should be more on the agenda of the policymakers and educators – #40reasons and family aspects of infertility – #HappyBirthday.

– European Fertility Week (EFW)

The European Fertility Week is established in 2016, and held annually in the first (full) week of November. It aims both to raise awareness of infertility, and to convey the issues faced by people with infertility. EFW events take place both on social media hosted by Fertility Europe as well as by national associations. Also many events are organised by the Member associations in their respective countries. EFW aims to engage the policymakers on both European and national level for better education, understanding of fertility issues and better provisions for infertility patients.

– European Policy Audit on Fertility (EPAF)

EPAF is an overview of key facts and statistics related to infertility across the 28 members of the European Union, EPAF includes a detailed overview of policies and regulations in nine (9) EU member states: Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and UK. The project objective is to collate, assess, and compare data concerning the national infertility spectrum and policies in selected European countries. Furthermore to identify current needs and develop policy recommendations targeted at EU and national policy makers. EPAF is a joint project of FE and ESHRE conducted under an unrestricted grant from Merck.

EPAF launch Brussels 2017 in presence of Louise Brown

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