Fertility Europe, the association of European patient organizations and associations involved with fertility / infertility issues, is pleased to announce the first edition of European Fertility Week, taking place between 31st October and 6th November 2016.
During the European Fertility Week, most of the Fertility Europe member organizations, will organize national campaigns (on online platforms and in real life) to sustain the awareness-raising and advocacy efforts regarding fertility and infertility.
Some of the organizations have already a great experience in organizing such campaigns; however, this year, the difference is brought by the alignment between our national efforts and the actions that will take place simultaneous in many European countries. The campaign will be promoted through a common visual identity and also by using an unitary tool in the social media, under the hashtag #EuropeanFertilityWeek.
All the actions taking place during European Fertility Week will be promoted through the communication channels of Fertility Europe (website, forum, social networks). Afterwards, the whole campaign experience will be summarized into an informational brochure, which will serve as a guideline for sharing experiences and good practices.
Six members of Fertility Europe, from the ExCo, COMM and POLI working groups, were in Brussels on Monday 26 September and Tuesday 27 September.
Monday was primarily spent on learning about the workings of the European Parliament and how lobbying – not a dirty word in this setting, but rather just a description of what’s being done, presenting and advocating for a cause or topic be it on behalf of a patient association such as ours or industry – works within its walls. This involves finding allies or someone who’s interested in the topic you’re presenting, preferably from different political parties, asking them to submit written questions or possibly organising committee debates on the topic and then taking it further.
Some time was also spent on learning how to use social media – mainly Twitter, as it seems to be one of the most used tools of MEPs.
On Tuesday, Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, Elín Einarsdóttir, and Irina Popova, had meetings with a MEP as well as with a number of political advisors to various other MEPs. The primary reason for doing so was to discuss a European Policy Audit on Fertility that’s being done at the moment. All of the people we talked to were interested in Fertility Europe and some were very happy and keen to help us reach our goals. In addition we were also given some practical advice on how to promote our issues in the European Parliament.
The European Policy Audit on Fertility is the first of its kind and the only one that will give an overview of the laws, rules and regulations related to MAR in the EU28, as well as an in depth view of 9 European countries: UK, Spain, Germany, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Sweden, France and Italy. Another important aspect of this work is that both European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and Fertility Europe – professionals and patients – are behind it and both views are represented, but the work is being done by Burson-Marstellar through an unrestricted grant from Merck. The work should be done by the end of the year and we’re looking towards a launch event in the first quarter of 2017.
During the 8th Council meeting in Helsinki members voted on Elections of Deputy Executive Committee members. Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen and Klaudija Kordic got the majority of the votes.
Later, in September 2016, the Vice Chair Nicoleta Cristea-Brunel resigned due to personal reasons, Klaudija Kordic declined to step in, and so Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen stepped in the Executive Committee. Irina Popova was 3rd during the voting for Deputies, so she became one. Next official Elections will be held in 2018. Till then, the members of the Executive Committee and their roles are as follows:
The Fertility Europe council meeting in Helsinki went very well. Two new deputies, Klaudija Kordic and Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, were elected and welcomed to the ExCo. Discussions about internal matters were lively and it was good to see the membership taking an active interest.
Simpukka, the Finnish patient association, provided people to man the combined FE booth and Wall of Hope during the 3 days of ESHRE‘s Annual Meeting and we thank them for that. People taking pictures at the wall were asked to use the hashtag #WallOfHope if posting them on social media.
Fertility Europe’s 8th Council Meeting this year is holding place in Helsinki, Finland, on 4th July and will begin with overview of the activities in 2015 and plans for 2016.
It will be followed by introduction of the candidates for Deputy Members of the Fertility Europe Executive Committee. Two out of four will be elected to support the Executive Committee for the upcoming two years. There are 26 participants from 18 associations who will vote also on approving the effective membership of the candidate member „Nas San” from Montenegro.
The Agenda will cover the discussion about the new statutes amendments, voting on the Fertility Europe Policy Recommendations paper, update on the project European Fertility Week and overview of the online communication. The meeting will be followed by the Charity Run, kindly organized by ESHRE to support Fertility Europe.
The face of Fertility Europe in the Congress Hall will be the traditional Wall of Hope with many new postcards with stories of Special families.
As we discussed during the meeting held in Sofia, Fertility Europe needs two deputy members that would complete and reinforce the Executive Committee.
Unfortunately, the extremely short period between FE Spring Meeting (end of March) and Annual Meeting (early July) hinders us from fully observing the terms indicated in the Statutes.
Given the extraordinary circumstances, we decided to have a derogation from the articles of association and to consider those conditions connected to deadline in the discussions we will have in the Statutes Working Group, for being able to avoid such problems in the future.
As such, we invite all Effective Members to propose candidates for the ExCo deputy member positions until May 20, 2016 (derogation from the articles of association indicating 90 days prior to the Annual Meeting).
The Chairperson will send a full list of all proposed candidates to all members by electronic means, prior to June 1, which means that for this point the provisions of articles of association will be observed. They stipulate “at least thirty (30) days before the date of the meeting”. That information will be posted on the Fertility Europe website as well, with the aim to observe the provisions of the articles of association.
We are looking forward to receive your proposals of candidates for ExCo Deputy Member at email@example.com and remain at your disposal for any additional information.
ESHRE, Fertility Europe’s professional partner organisation, holds its yearly congress in Helsinki 3 – 6 July 2016. At that occasion Fertility Europe holds its Council Meeting on Monday 4th July all day long and on Tuesday 5th July before noon.
The Fertility Europe Patient Session will take place on Tuesday 5th July at 2:00 pm.
You can find more information about the ESHRE Congress and practical information here.
The 2016 Spring meeting was held 16th-18th March in Sofia, Bulgaria. 27 participants from 15 countries came to share their experience. FE welcomed a new candidate member, Nas San (Our Dream) from Montenegro. The FE Chair Elin Einarsdottir mentioned the achievements since Lisbon: the establishment of the new online forum, the Statutes Working group formed to discuss amendments in the current statutes, the ongoing collaboration with Merck Serono regarding elaborating a paper comparing the MAR situation in 9 European countries, and others.
A key issue in the agenda was the revocation of the ExCo member Denisa Priadková, under article 13.2 of the FE Statutes.
The negative MAR situation in Croatia, Poland and Romania and possible ways that FE can help were also discussed. The FE Vice-chair Nicoleta Cristea-Brunel presented the FE awareness project: European Fertility Week (November 2016).
”The European Commission is aware of the problems related to involuntary infertility as a serious medical condition having serious negative consequences on the wellbeing of the couples concerned. Reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) play an important role in remedying involuntary infertility.”
„The European Parliament notes that infertility is a medical condition recognised by World Health Organization that can have severe effects such as depression; points out that infertility is on the increase and now occurs in about 15% of couples; calls on the Member States, therefore, to ensure the right of couples to universal access to infertility treatment.”