Members meetings

Members and Candidate Members Meeting Belgrade, 2019

The 2019 Spring Meeting was held 27-29 March in Belgrade, Serbia with delegates from 21 Member organisations from 20 countries.

This year our agenda was even more busy then usual with all day training on fundraising for patients organisations. Our member associations are so full of ideas and enthusiasm to support infertility patients, so this training was aimed to help them obtain efficient funding to be able to implement their projects.

Other items on the agenda included planning for the ESHRE congress in June with our usual Patients Session and new ways to present infertility patients needs; European Fertility Week 2019 in November, preparation for the European Parliament election in May 2019, and many discussion on best practice and biggest challenges for our member associations.

Our Serbian Member Association – Sansa za Roditeljstvo invited us to the conference ‘Europe in Serbia – IVF’ – an event with many doctors, politicians, press and patients’ representatives, who all took part in a discussion about the situation of infertility patients in Serbia. We also watched very moving film, made by Sandra Jovanovic, with amazing testimonies of couples talking openly about their infertility journey; and admired an exhibition of photographs ‘Infertility hurts’ prepared by our host association. All very impressive!

We were feeling very welcome in Belgrade and as always it was great to work together with our Members.

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, Barcelona, 2018

Fertility Europe Annual Council Meeting was held during ESHRE Congress in Barcelona, 2nd July 2018.

There were 24 representatives from 16 associations. Seems that the time of ESHRE gets more and more busy every year for us!

Members elected our new Executive Committee for the term 2018-2021:
Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen/Simpukka/Finland as Chair
Klaudija Kordic /RODA/Croatia as Vice-chair
Afroditi Alexopoulou/Kiveli/Greece as Treasurer
Irina Popova/Zachatie/Bulgaria as Secretary
Karianne Bye/Ønskebarn/Norway – Member
and Ofra Balaban/CHEN/Israel and Iwona Komenda/Nasz Bocian/Poland as Deputy Members

We have also officially welcomed new Members – Red Nacional Infertiles from Spain as full Members and Bebe Vise from Bosnia and Hercegovina as Candidate Member. Welcome – we are very happy to be growing organisation and representing more European patients.

The Council approved 2017 statutory documents and plans for 2018.

We have discussed the plans for the European Fertility Week 2018 and ideas for our new fertility awareness project based on the most important issues marked by FE Members in Valletta earlier this year.

Our Chair (just reelected!) Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen was invited to join the Ethics Committee of ESHRE and we are sure, that she can contribute splendidly with the patients’ outlook on ethics.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting Valletta, 2018

The 2018 Spring Meeting was held 14th-16th March in Valletta, Malta. 31  delegates from 19 countries and 20 associations came to share their experience, best practice and some concerns.

We had very good discussion about future projects and role for Fertility Europe.

Our host association Malta Infertility Network organised very interesting conference ‘Supporting the Rollercoaster Dream’ aiming to raise awareness of infertility treatment issues in Malta and support the necessary changes to Malta’s restrictive law. Speakers including Prime Minister of Malta, leading medical doctors and human right activists presented their views on the future of MAR in Malta.

Dr. Mark Sant Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Special Interest in Infertility was also our guest speaker and answered many questions of our Members about the struggles to treat patients under the present regulations.

Friends from MIN, you are doing very impressive job for infertility patients in Malta and there is still a lot to do!

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, Geneva, 2017

Fertility Europe Annual Council Meeting was held during ESHRE Congress in Geneva 3rd July 2017.
The meeting was successful with Council members approving Annual Report and Accounts for last year as well as a plan for the next year.
The best news is accepting three new members:

  • National Infertility Support and Information Group from Ireland
  • Malta Infertility Network
  • Udruženje Šansa za Roditeljstvo (Chance for Parenthood) from Serbia


We also had two very interesting presentations from our guests:
Emily Koert on ‘The efficacy of a fertility education website in increasing knowledge and changing fertility beliefs’ and
Jenny Stern on ‘The reproductive life plan’ in Sweden.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting Brussels, 2017

Spring Meeting 2018 was held in Brussels as it was combined with official launch of European Policy Audit on Fertility in the European Parliament on 28 March 2017 hosted by MEP Norica Nicolai (ALDE, Romania)

EPAF is a joined project of ESHRE and Fertility Europe conducted thanks to unrestricted grant from Merck and it is intended to be an effective and simple communication tool that patient groups, healthcare professionals can use in their advocacy activities to raise awareness and educate about infertility treatment in Europe. 

26 delegates from 19 countries voted on new statutes for FE, participated in a workshop by Irena Rozic from RODA, Croatia about the future projects for FE and listened to the presentation by Burson Marsteller on patients advocacy in the European Union institutions.

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, Helsinki, July 4-5, 2016

Fertility Europe’s 8th Council Meeting starts with an overview of the activities in 2015 and plans for 2016. Followed by the introduction of the candidates for Deputy Members of the Fertility Europe Executive Committee. Klaudija Kordic and Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, were elected and welcomed to the ExCo for the upcoming two years.

There are 26 participants from 18 associations present. The candidate member „Nas San” from Montenegro was added to the effective members. Furthermore on the agenda were: a 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. Discussions about internal matters were lively and it was good to see the membership taking an active interest.

The meeting was followed by the Charity Run, kindly organized by ESHRE to support Fertility Europe.

Simpukka, the Finnish patient association, kindly 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.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting, Sofia, March 16-18, 2016

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 on the agenda was the revocation of the ExCo member Denisa Priadková after voting of the members. 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 Awareness Week (First edition to be held in November 2016).

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, Lisbon, July 4, 2015

Representatives of 16 organisations gathered at one of the most important Council meetings for the Elections of new Executive Committee of Fertility Europe. The current structure was as follows: Clare Lewis-Jones, Chair; Denisa Priadková, Vicechair; Ella Einarsdottir, Secretary; Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, Treasurer; Alina David – ExCo member. After discussions about the voting procedure, Statutes, conflict of interests and website domain ownership, a new Executive committee for the upcoming 3 years was elected as follows: Ella Einarsdottir from Tilvera-Iceland – Chair; Nicoleta Cristea-Brunel from SOS Infertilitatea- Romania- Vicechair; Afrodite Alexopoulou from Kiveli-Greece – Treasurer; Denisa Priadkova from Bocian-Slovakia – Secretary; Isabelle Chandler from MAIA-France – ExCo member; Ofra Balaban from Chen- Israel – Deputy member.

EU Policy Strategy and Advocacy Outreach Programme was discussed during a Liaison meeting with Merck Serono and ESHRE. The new design of the Wall of Hope and the Live postcards of 3 Portuguese Special Families attracted the attention of the thousands ESHRE congress participants.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting, Athens, March 25-27, 2015

The discussed topics were ethics in the assisted reproduction, cross-border healthcare and medical tourism, developments in the laws of the Member States relating to financing the infertility treatment, the second stage of the Special families campaign and others. During the meeting, representatives of Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and Ukraine shared best practices. The upcoming elections for the Executive Committee of Fertility Europe were also discussed.

The meeting ended with a round table on which the most respected professors, embryologists and psychologists from Athens, Crete and Thessaloniki were invited to talk about the latest trends in MAR in Greece and generally in Europe.

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, Munich, 30 June- 2 July, 2014

25 participants from 16 countries took part at the Fertility Europe Council meeting in Munich. The Candidate Members Kiveli from Greece, Beta from Croatia and Cider from Turkey applied to become Effective Members. Waiting and Wanting from Malta became Associate member. After the presentations of the Working groups, the research project of Dr. Eline Dancet from the University of Amsterdam was discussed. The aim of the project is to define and prioritize research questions from the perspective of patient representatives.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting, Zagreb, March 19-21, 2014

30 representatives of organisations from 18 European countries, including the newest candidate in Fertility Europe – Malta took part in the meeting.

The agenda covered discussions about mission and goals of Fertility Europe, Ethics, the strategic development plan of the organization over the next five years and others. Bulgaria, Portugal, Belgium and the UK, shared best practices for fundraising campaigns and initiatives with donors, NGOs and government institutions. Fertility Europe meeting in Zagreb coincided the organized by the hosts’ Informative week of infertility, which reflected in local media.

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, London, July 7-9, 2013

Thousands of participants from all continents gathered to learn about new technologies in reproductive medicine during the 29th Congress of ESHRE in ExCel congress center where the annual meeting of Fertility Europe was also held. Patient organizations from Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Finland, the Netherlands, Croatia and Sweden took part. The association “Deti Budut” from Ukraine became an effective member.

Fundamental issues were discussed and official document of Fertility Europe for the prevention of infertility under the name “Fertility matters” was adopted. This document will be used for lobbying in the European Parliament and other institutions involved with European legislation, health and particularly reproductive health. Once again, pictures and stories of Special families with reproductive problems adorned the entrance of the convention center. Over 700 cards were exposed to the “Wall of Hope” to inspire hope for all who are still trying to become parents.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting, Warsaw, March 21-22, 2013

The meeting was held immediately after the International Infertility Fair, including numerous seminars related to new methods of assisted reproduction, egg donation and surrogacy. 28 participants from 19 patient organizations from all over Europe gathered to discuss the best practices in the Member States and the success of the Special families campaign.

The meeting was held in one of the most disadvantaged countries with regard to the infertility treatment where couples with fertility problems are victims of negative attitude of the church towards the conception through in vitro fertilization. “This is the only medical intervention that is not covered by the Polish Health Fund” – shared special guest at the meeting, Prof. Dr. Rafal Kurzava. He added that patients and doctors who support IVF treatment are not well received in Poland, although couples with fertility problems are about 1.5 million. During the meeting, associations from Slovenia, Serbia and Ukraine have applied for full membership.

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, Istanbul, July 2, 2012

Fertility Europe 5th Council Meeting in Istanbul was held on 2nd July, 2012 and began with introduction of the candidates for the Executive Committee of Fertility Europe. On the same day, the new ExCo was elected for a period of three years. The elected candidates for the Executive Committee 2012 – 2015 were Clare Lewis-Jones from the United Kingdom Infertility Network UK; Denisa Priadková from the Slovak Republic Civil Association Stork, Obcianske zdruzenie Bocian; Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen from Finland Simpukka, the Finnish Infertility Association; Elin Einarsdottir from Iceland Tilvera and Alina Beatris David from SOS Infertilitatea – Romania.

A new Fertility Europe Brochure was created providing up-to-date information on Who we are, our Working Groups, the Policies work, short history of Fertility Europe, our Patient Sessions as well as goals and achievements of the Special Families Campaign.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting, Bucharest, April 12-13, 2012

April 12-13, 2012 Fertility Europe members met in Bucharest for its regular Spring Members Meeting. The Romanian Member, SOS Infertilitatea, organised a week of on-line and off-line events focusing on awareness and prevention of infertility between the 9th and 13th April 2012.

So far, there were no plans for a legal framework in Romania for Medically Assisted Reproduction although SOS Infertilitatea strongly advocates for one. They had arranged a meeting with Mrs. Cristina Dobre, Deputy Vice President of the Health Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and Mr. Corneliu Grosu, Senator, Secretary of the Health Commission of the Senate, a meeting Clare Lewis-Jones, Chair of Fertility Europe, was proud to be invited to. The objectives of the meeting were to support the advocacy activities of SOS Infertilitatea and their efforts to settle a MAR legal framework including reimbursement schemes and patient centered treatments; state that there is a necessity all over Europe to have equality of access to MAR; and put forward other European examples which are a relevant benchmark. The draft policy paper “Equity of Access to MAR” produced by Fertility Europe was close to finalizing.

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, Stockholm, July 4, 2011

The 4th Council meeting took place on 4th July 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden and were attended by 24 representatives from 17 countries. The meeting started with the presentation of the candidate member National Association of the Involuntary Childless (LFUB), Denmark. Three candidate members were proposed and approved to become effective members: Tilvera (Iceland), Adam (Czech Republic) and LFUB (Denmark). Annalisa Malfatti (Italy) from ExCo had resigned for personal reasons and was replaced by Randi Ramnefjell (Norway).

The members’ meeting started with discussion on the Fertility Europe Policy paper on Equity of access to Medically Assisted Reproduction. Then the Chair of ESHRE Anna Veiga explained how ESHRE functions. The biggest highlight was the first Wall of Hope with 350 postcards from the project Special families’ campaign.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting, Prague, March 24-25, 2011

Sixteen FE members met for the Spring meeting in Prague, Czech Republic 24th- 25th March 2011. The meeting started with the presentations of the new candidate member Tilvera from Iceland and the first association focused on male infertility, Adam, Czech Republic. The accent of the meeting was Prevention and all members shared their good practices.

Main FE goals were formed: build a cross boarder network, promote education, improve patients’ rights, lobbying and reaching out: to provide FE with common statements, support FE member’s nationally regulatory effects, raise FE as independent patient’s group, communicate with European officials in parliament. The newly formed Policy Working group began creating the Paper “Equity of Access to MAR”. The new Office manager Kalina Nedelcheva was hired after an interview, to replace Geertrui de Cock.

Annual Meeting and Members Meeting, Rome, June 28, 2010

The 3rd Council meeting of Fertility Europe (FE) took place in Rome, Italy on 28th June 2010. All members made presentations about their associations. The Policy Working group had been formed at the Fertility Europe members meeting in Rome 2010.

The hosts Amica Cicogna and Cerco un Bimbo explained about the difficult conditions related to the negative ART legislation in Italy. Zachatie and Iskam Bebe from Bulgaria, Lombikbebi from Hungary, SOS Infertilitatea from Romania, Nasz Bocian from Poland, Maia from France, APF from Portugal and RODA from Croatia were voted to become effective members. Afterwards, the beginning of the Special Families Campaign and the future of Fertility Europe were discussed. The patient-centered care was the main topic of the Patient Session.

Members and Candidate Members Meeting, Vienna, March 25-26, 2010

The main topic on the agenda of Fertility Europe was sharing experiences. For years now we are exchanging ideas and tools for more public awareness, fundraising in new and effective ways, media events, fertility fairs, days, tours, books, posters, questionnaires or other events. These help you to address even more of your target group, people trying to overcome difficulties in conceiving.

We are also partners of respected organisations or politicians. We – as one of the few – also concentrate on prevention and risks, ethical issues and international topics.

First Annual Meeting, Amsterdam, June 29, 2009

The General Meeting in Amsterdam was the first important meeting of the newly established Fertility Europe. What first was a dream is now a reality. We have an association, which came to exist due to the common needs and co-operation of leaders of various European patient associations and charities involved with fertility and related issues. Amsterdam was the very first meeting, where in accordance with our Statutes, the new Executive Committee was elected and later on those elected held a couple of meetings to formalise the positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. We are now pleased to let you know that the following people were elected:

  • Chair – Clare Lewis-Jones
  • Vice-Chair – Denisa Priadková
  • Secretary – Annalisa Malfatti, replaced by Randi Ramnefjell as of Spring 2011 due to Annalisa’s resignation
  • Treasurer – Conrad Engler
  • and José van der Schoor-Knijnenburg is the important fifth board member.

We also discussed our plans for 2009 and 2010 and created new working groups with important tasks and attractive futures.

Preparatory Meeting,  Barcelona, July 2008,

At a meeting on the 7th July at the ESHRE Annual Meeting in Barcelona with Prof. Dr. med. H. Kentenich, Berlin, Germany, member of the ESHRE Executive Committee 2007 – 2009, Prof. Kentenich pointed out the importance of patient organisations and that the patients need advocacy by independent, patient driven organisation representing the concerned people.

ESHRE is starting a new political advocacy in the EU with clear mission statements and conclusions about “good clinical treatment” Infertility is considered a “medical condition” that can be treated. ESHRE key goals are access to all treatments for couples (not only for married couples), funding of ART and counseling.

Prof. Kentenich emphasized that ESHRE wanted one European organisation as partner that has to be democratic, transparent and represent the whole Europe. The Organisation has to be clearly patient driven (not by pharmaceutical companies, clinics or doctors). Prof. Kentenich said to the representatives of Fertility Europe: “You are on the right way”. He also welcomed our propositions for further and more intensive contacts and co-operation, said that he was happy to have been invited to the meeting with us and happy to see how far our young organisation was already.