The Executive Committee
Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, Chairperson of Fertility Europe and coordinator of the Working Group MORE
Born in 1966, married 2000 with husband Pertti. We went through almost every possible fertility treatment during four years but with no result. Then we decided to concentrate on our relationship and have been very contented. Our aim as a couple is to tell people who can’t have children that life goes on and you can still have a happy and full life in your marriage.
Fertility Europe’s aim to gather all European associations together is a great idea. I am happy to give my input to make it work. We have a lot to do, but it will be a joy to do it with all these wonderful people I have met around Europe.
I work fulltime in the Finnish Infertility Association Simpukka, which was established in 1988.
Elin Einarsdottir, Vice-chairperson of Fertility Europe
Vice-chair and member of various working groups within Fertility Europe, as well as a member of ESHRE’s Ethics Committee. I also have the most wonderful job of all, I’m Aunt Ella!
Born in 1978, the oldest of 4 children, married in 2004.
The diagnosis of infertility came in 2002 and was life changing. From the time I was very young I had always “known” I’d be a mom no matter what else I did in life. As a way of taking charge of my life and infertility I began working with Tilvera, the Icelandic Infertility Association, and since 2002/2003 I have held almost every position on the board. I’ve been a member of Fertility Europe’s ExCo since 2012, first as the secretary for 3 years and now as the chair.
For years I labeled myself as childless, suffering through the agony of watching other people getting pregnant, having children and celebrating them. Through hard work and support from my husband, friends and family I finally made the breakthrough of deciding that I couldn’t continue living that way and changed my perspective. In stead of focusing on what I couldn’t have I chose to consider myself childfree instead. Free from burdens and obligations associated with having children. This doesn’t mean I don’t have children in my life, I’m Aunt Ella to my nieces and nephews as well as the children of friends of mine.
I’m also the boss of 4 wonderful cats.
Klaudija Kordic, Secretary of Fertility Europe and member of the Working Group MORE (Membership, Outreach, Representativeness, Europe)
I was born 1974 and thanks to IVF am the mother of a beautiful daughter (born 2011) and twins (born 2014).
I have been a member of the RODA association in Croatia from 2009, my involvement is in the infertility project of the association where I am one of the project leaders. RODA joined Fertility Europe in 2010, in the middle of our struggle against the most rigorous and restrictive law on medically assisted reproduction in Europe. At that time Fertility Europe was a great support, a huge network of helpful infertility associations willing to help with experience and advice, and still is. We are lucky in Croatia in that we have had a new, more liberal and quite modern law on medically assisted reproduction since 07/2012. Now we can be of help to other countries within Fertility Europe and beyond it.
Why did I join the MORE working group? I like to work with Satu and Susan, but other than this, it is really nice to see this European Family of infertility associations growing and to help it a little bit in this process..
Afroditi Alexopoulou, Treasurer of Fertility Europe
Born in 1978. Lives in Athens, Greece. I had to remove my fallopian tubes when I was 28 years old and since then, I had 8 unsuccessful IVF attempts and one miscarriage. In the meantime, I became member of the Greek fertility support association KIVELI and I worked as volunteer. I tried to support as many women as I could and urged them to talk about what was happening to them, because being hypofertile is deemed a big secret / taboo in the Greek society. My full time job is accountant. I became member of the ExCo because I always believed that by working together more could be achieved than by working alone. I believe in people and in willpower.
Ofra Balaban Kasztelanski, member of the ExCo of Fertility Europe
Born in 1959 in Israel. Married to Itamar, a computer specialist, and mother of Yoav (born 1995) and Tal (born 1999). M.A. in Public Policy – Tel-Aviv University.
I am the founder and the chair of CHEN – Patient Fertility Association (since 1998), the organization supplying support to infertile couples and persons, distributes information and initiates change in laws regarding egg donation in Israel. Since 2016, I am a member of the board of Fertility Europe. I also represent Israel in the international umbrella organizations such as ICSI, AFAM and IAPO.
I am an active member in task force to encourage freedom of research in Stem cells, established in Rome 2006, by MEP Marco Cappato and Luca Coscioni Association from Italy and in Israel I am member of the women council in my city, Holon, and member in the board of volunteers council. In 2006 I was honored by the mayor of Holon as the Volunteer of the year.
DEPUTY MEMBERS of the ExCo
Irina Popova, deputy member of the ExCo and member of the Working Group POLI (Policy)
Lives in Sofia, Bulgaria. Volunteer and vice-chair of Bulgarian patient organization “Zachatie”.
Fertility Europe’s Office Manager.
Anita Fincham, also member of the Working Group COMM (Communication)
I am Polish, with an English husband and two sons (aged 13 and 7) conceived thanks to IVF.
I am a qualified Psychodietician, and we currently live in the UK where I work with people who are interested in improving their well-being through changing their eating habits.
Infertility has had major impact on my life: since 2008, I have been an active member of Nasz Bocian, the leading Polish NGO serving the infertile community; I act as a moderator and expert advisor on EBM-optimised nutrition for fertility.
Honorary Lifetime Member
Clare Lewis-Jones MBE, Fertility Europe Honorary Lifetime Member (Ex-Chair of Fertility Europe, 2009 – 2015)
Clare discovered she had fertility problems in 1978 and over the next 8 years had three attempts at tubal surgery and 4 IVF attempts which all failed. In 1985 she was successful in adopting her two children, James and Holly. Having been a member for three years, she joined the National Management Committee of CHILD, the national infertility support network, in 1984. Between then and 1989 she held the voluntary posts of Membership Secretary and Chair. In 1989 she became Executive Director working part-time from home. From that time to December 2003, when CHILD and iSSUE merged to form Infertility Network UK, this developed in to a full-time post, office-based with a staff of 12. On the merger of CHILD and ISSUE in December 2003, Clare became Chief Executive of the new organisation Infertility Network UK. She retired from the position in January 2015.
Clare was a Member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) from December 2002 to May 2011. She was Chair of the National Infertility Awareness Campaign, Chair of Fertility Europe, the patient representative on the Management Committee of the British Fertility Society and was the consumer representative on the NICE Fertility Guideline Development Group in 2004 and the update of the guideline in 2013. Clare was the founder and Chair of the Association of Fertility Patient Organisations in the UK.
She was awarded the World Fertility Awareness Month Lifetime Achievement Award in July 2007 – an award which has historically been given to eminent clinicians working in the field of infertility.
Clare was awarded the MBE for her services to health in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2009.
She has written numerous papers and articles on infertility and its effect on sufferers, as well as taking part in equally numerous interviews for the media.
Working Groups members
Monika Bulmanska-Wingett, member of the Working Groups POLI (Policy) and COMM (Communication)
A well-travelled home-bird, a wife and a proud mother of three fantastic IVF conceived children. After 6 years of struggle, two IVF attempts and a spontaneous miscarriage, I was born a mum for the first time. Two years and another IVF attempt later, my twin daughters came into the world.
Since 2004, I have been involved in Nasz Bocian of Poland activities. I am a board member and an administrator of Nasz Bocian forum which has over 95 thousand registered users.
I love travelling. Visiting new places and being able to see them through my kids’ eyes is a beautiful experience and pure joy. I love reading. I love talking to people and learning their perspectives.
Isabelle Chandler, member of the Working Group POLI (Policy)
Born in 1966, I have been happily living in Paris for years. I am a mother of two children conceived through IVF, after difficult attempts.
Since 2005, I have been working as a volunteer for the French Infertility Network Maia. I have been recently elected MAIA Vice Chairwoman.
As a professional, I come from a background of being a hard hitting advocate. In 2012, I have been contributing to create the FE Policy Working Group. This unique group of persons is untiringly providing expertise to promote policy positions and societal changes throughout the European countries.
Nicoleta Cristea-Brunel, member of the Working Group COMM (Communication)
Born in 1977, married, I have a daughter, born after seven IVF attempts. I am the founder and the coordinator of SOS Infertilitatea Association of Romania (from 2008).
Ana Galhardo, member of the Working Group POLI (Policy)
Born 1974, married, mother of two boys. Being a Portuguese clinical psychologist and university teacher, I developed an interest for infertility during my PhD research. This led to contacting the Portuguese Fertility Association APFertilidade, which was the beginning of a remarkable relationship. Since 2008 I have been developing and applying a Mindfulness Based Program for Infertility (group intervention).
I have also coordinated a continuous project of creating a psychologists’ network with special knowledge and skills for psychological support of people facing infertility. It includes organization of regular workshops for these psychologists, promoting the state of the art psychological intervention as well as discussion and sharing of professionals’ points of view. It is a pleasure and an honor to represent APFertilidade with Fertility Europe and to learn and share with all the other Members. It really is a great team!
Hana Konecna, member of the Working Group POLI (Policy)
She lives in Southern Bohemia, Czech Republic. A psychologist, university teacher. For many years a volunteer in the Maternity Hope Foundation. In 2010 cofounder of NGO Adam Czech Republic. She is interested mainly in psycho-social and ethical aspects of reproductive medicine and in patient-centered healthcare.
Iwona Krygier-Komenda, member of the Working Group POLI (Policy)
.Bojana Santic, member of the Working Group POLI (Policy)
.Susan Seenan, member of the Working Group MORE (Membership, Outreach, Representativeness, Europe)
I am the proud mother of one son conceived following IVF treatment and the loss of our first baby at 20 weeks. Having spent many years dealing with infertility I know from personal experience how difficult and isolating this can be, and I now work as Chief Executive of the national charity Infertility Network UK to help provide information and support to others experiencing the difficulties of infertility. Infertility never leaves you, no matter what the outcome and the charity can be a lifeline not only for those experiencing infertility but through our More to Life section for those who face involuntary childlessness.
I was lucky enough to receive funding for my treatment – my wish is for everyone across Europe to have access to funded treatment on an equitable basis.